Skip to main content

Full text of "The Jew in London. A study of racial character and present-day conditions"

See other formats





.4' iMmjs. i^ixjipi... 

Cornell University Library 
DS 135.E55L841 

Jew in London. 

3 1924 028 590 192 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



A Study of 
Racial Character and Present-Day Conditions 


C. RUSSELL, B.A., and H. SfLEWIS, M.A. 


An Introduction by Canon Barnett 


A Preface by The Right Hon. James Bryce, M.P. 

With a New Map specially made for this Volume 






Preface . 
Introduction . 
Notes on Map 







I. Introductory i 

II. The Social Question . . . . 12 

III. The Industrial Question ... 46 

IV. The Religious Question ... 91 
V. Conclusion 137 

Appendix A. — Population Statistics . . 149 



By H. S. lewis, M.A, . . 155 

Appendix B. ■ 

Hours of Attendance at 

CUEDER .... 



The Jewish nationality is so unique a 
phenomenon in the history of the world, 
by its antiquity and by its cohesiveness, as 
to be one of the most interesting subjects 
of investigation to which an inquirer can 
address himself. It is certainly not less 
so now than it was in the past, because 
within the last hundred years it has entered 
on a new phase, in which its power has 
been better shown and in which also its 
existence has begun to be more seriously 
threatened than was ever the case before. 
Nor is the inquiry anywhere more in- 
teresting than in England, because England 
is now pretty nearly the only country in 
which Jews are subject to no sort of dis- 
ability, either social or legal, and is also 


X Preface 

the country in which the struggle between 
two tendencies that are at work in the 
bosom of Judaism, the tendency to change 
and the tendency to conservatism, is most 
evident and active. 

The subject of the two essays which 
form this volume is, therefore, one which 
deserves the attention of historians as well 
as of sociologists. They are primarily an 
attempt to describe the Jewish community 
in London, and especially that large part 
of it which consists of very recent immi- 
grants from Eastern Europe, Germany, 
Poland and Russia. One of the essays 
describes these people as seen from the 
outside by an observer, who, though fair 
and even friendly, has no special personal 
ground of sympathy with the Jewish race 
or religion. The second essay, which is 
to some extent a criticism and commentary 
upon the first, is the work of a writer who, 
himself a member of the race, is thus able 
to enter fully into its feelings and aspira- 

Preface xi 

tions, and to set these clearly before the 
Gentile reader. He is, however, sufiSciently 
detached and independent to perceive the 
defects of his nation, and sufficiently candid 
to admit these defects. Thus the two 
studies, taken together, seem to contain 
good materials from which a judgment 
may be formed on a problem to which the 
recrudescence of Anti-Semitism, everywhere 
except in England, has given a new 

The large immigration of foreign Jews 
into England has hitherto attracted public 
attention chiefly from the social and 
economic side. An outcry was raised, some 
years ago, that these immigrants were 
injuring the English working-man by 
unfair competition, were ousting him from 
certain trades, were lowering the rate of 
wages, and therewith the standard of 
comfort and decency, were increasing the 
burden of pauperism, which the lowest 
quarters of our great cities, and especially 

xii Preface 

of London, have to carry. To this it 
was answered that, so far from injuring 
trade they were helping it, by enabling 
some branches of industry to be worked 
so cheaply that other branches could be 
developed for the benefit of English work- 
people, that they were, as a rule, sober 
and thrifty, as well as laborious in their 
habits, and that they were, therefore, not 
likely to come upon the rates or swell the 
criminal class. These questions are dis- 
cussed in the following pages with full 
knowledge and with calmness. The con- 
clusions reached do not entirely sustain 
either of the views to which I have 
referred, but they certainly seem to dis- 
suade any attempt to check by law the 
entry into England of these aliens. J The 
immigrants are, no doubt, in some ways 
unattractive, but they are highly intelligent ; 
they are not prone to crime, and their 
children, taught in English schools, soon 
rise to the level of the English Jews, 

Preface xiii 

whom no Englishman has proposed to 
expel after the fashion of King Edward 
the First, or of the more extreme Anti- 
Semites in Russia or in France. The 
picture of their character and habits given 
here is a curious one, and enables the 
reader to realize, vividly, the size and 
variety of London, in whose immense mass 
this community, large as it is, maintains its 
separate life almost unnoticed, except by 
its immediate neighbours in Stepney and 
Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. 

Two other questions of great interest 
are dealt with in these essays. One is the 
conflict within the Jewish body between 
the forces that make for a persistence in 
the old orthodoxy of belief and the old 
regime of ceremonial usages, and the forces 
which tend to abolish those usages , and to 
reduce the religion of Israel to a sort of 
philosophic theism, tinged, no doubt, by 
that strong race feeling which the recollec- 
tions of a long and striking history have 

xiv Preface 

imprinted so deeply upon the Jewish mind. 
No thoughtful Christian can be indifferent 
to this conflict. It resembles, to some 
extent, the struggle between the new and 
the old which goes on within Christianity 
also ; and it suggests many thoughts upon 
the true interpretation of that part of 
Israel's annals which is recorded in the 
Old Testament. Jewish philosophers like 
Spinoza, and Jewish men of learning (of 
whom not a few have attained deserved 
eminence in their treatment of Biblical 
problems, within the last and present genera- 
tion), have largely affected the movements of 
religious thought ; and the results of their 
writings remain significant for the theo- 
logical and historical student of to-day. 
In the present instance it is the English 
element, and the more educated element, 
that is penetrated by neological tendencies, 
while, conservatism, as is natural, finds its 
stronghold among the simple and humble 
Jews who come from Eastern Europe, 

Preface xv 

where isolation and persecution have bound 
them closely to their Talmudic traditions. 

The other question is ais to the per- 
manence of Jewish nationality in the 
future. This is a matter of practical con- 
sequence as well as speculative interest. 
If the race remains distinct and cohesive, 
it will probably be a potent factor in 
Europe for generations to come, not only 
by its undoubted talents and energy, but 
in virtue of its remarkable cohesion, vy^hich 
so greatly increases the force its individual 
men of wealth and ability can put forth. 
If it becomes by degrees absorbed into 
and merged in the general population of 
the countries where it dwells, its influence 
will be only such as that which the in- 
fusion at one time of Franco- Norman, 
at a much later time and to a smaller 
extent of French Huguenot blood had 
upon the population of England, the in- 
fluence of a new and vigorous strain which, 
notable for two or three generations, 

XVI Preface 

presently passes away and is forgotten. 
The writers of both these essays agree 
in thinking that the essential feature of 
modern Israel is to be found not in its 
blood but in its religion ; and that its 
continuance as a nationality will depend 
on whether or no it clings to its religion. 
This is the one thing that really marks 
it off. If Judaism becomes merely theism, 
there will be little to distinguish its pro- 
fessors from the persons, now pretty 
numerous, who, while Christians in name, 
sit loose to Christian doctrine. The 
children of Jewish theists will be almost 
as apt as the children of other theists to 
be caught up by the movement which 
carries the sons and daughters of evan- 
gelical Anglicans and of Nonconformists 
towards, or all the way to, the Church of 
Rome. Intermarriage between Jews and 
Christians has already begun, even where 
each consort retains his or her religion, 
and it will spread much more quickly if 

Preface xvii 

Judaism loses its external character. 
Now the practice of intermarriage is by 
far the most powerful solvent of racial 
distinctions, acting with exceptional force 
where the two races live intermingled in 
the same city, and where one is so vastly 
larger than the other that it necessarily 
imposes its social habits and ideas upon 
the smaller. A study of the phenomena 
of race-contact in the past, therefore, 
decidedly confirms the conclusion at which 
both these writers have arrived, that the 
religion of Israel is the ark of Jewish 
nationality. Strongly marked as the race 
is, it will dissolve like a lump of salt in 
water unless it clings to its religion, and, 
as has been already observed, the very fact 
that it has been better received and is 
better treated in England than anywhere 
else in the Europe of to-day, exposes it 
to a more severe strain than it has had 
to experience before. 

Whatever be the issue, one can dwell 

xviii Preface " 

with unmixed satisfaction upon the absence 
among ourselves of any recrudescence of 
mediaeval intolerance towards a people 
whose peculiar defects are fairly charge- 
able upon what they have been forced in 
the past to suffer, whose possession of 
some peculiar merits cannot be denied, 
and who have made within recent times 
extraordinary contributions to learning and 
philosophy, to science and to one, at least, 
of the arts. Those who would trace the 
source of these contributions to the special 
training which the Jewish race receives, as 
well as all who care for the study of social 
and industrial phenomena, will find much 
*■ to interest them in the present volume. 


The first Trustees of the Toynbee Trust, 
appointed in 1884, were the Earl of 
Dalhousie, Messrs W. Markbey, Arthur 
Acland, Herbert Foxwell, Alfred Milner, 
Henry Sidgwick and Robert Spencer 
Watson. They transferred the Trust in 
1892 to the Council of Toynbee Hall — of 
which body Mr Lyttelton Cell, Lord Peel, 
Lord Herschel, and Sir Charles Elliott 
have been in succession chairmen. 

The Trust was founded on the death 
of Arnold Toynbee by some of his friends 
as an expression of their affection for 
himself and as a memorial of his aims. 
Its object is stated to be 'for the promot- 
ing the investigation and diffusion of true 
principles of political and social economy,' 

and the Trustees are, among other things 


XX Introduction 

authorised to provide for the delivery and 
publication of lectures. 

Under the Trust Messrs Price, T. U. 
Smith, F. Maddison, M.P., A. Woodworth, 
Lord Fitzharris, and others have investi- 
gated, and either lectured or reported on 
special subjects affecting the life and 
industry of the people. 

There is thus no necessary connection 
between the Trust and Toynbee Hall, 
which received its name not because the 
founders wished the place to be a me- 
morial of Arnold Toynbee, but because his 
name seemed to express their hopes 
of uniting men of culture with men of 
industry. The friends or enemies — if 
there be any — of Toynbee Hall must 
not therefore, in taking up these essays, 
associate with them any of the opinions 
they may have formed about the place. 

The subject of the present essays was 
chosen because of its immediate interest, 
and because of the facilities available for 

Introduction xxi 

its study. The Jews by their inheritance 
and by their experience are a ' peculiar ' 
people. They inherit the mind both 
philosophic and practical, which was formed 
in a land where the Eastern man of dreams 
came into contact with the Western man of 
action. They by experience have habits, 
virtues and vices formed by centuries of 
opposition and persecution. They have 
preserved these results within the hedge 
of a Law, which keeps them distinct and 
forbids union with the people among 
whom they live. Their inheritance and 
their training have had advantages and dis- 
advantages which can be recognised in 
their character and habits. 

The poor Jew is, as a rule, more 
capable of thinking than the poor Gentile ; 
he can shape an ideal in his mind 
with something of a poet's power. Hence 
he is able to work with an intelli- 
gence and a success which does not 
always follow mere technical education, 

xxii Introduction 

and he has dreams which he can 
enjoy in his hours of leisure without 
being driven to seek dreams through 
drunkenness. He has a sense of equality, 
which gives him self-confidence and en- 
ables him easily to take the place he gains 
in the world. He has a certain dignity 
born of the consciousness of the past, he 
treats his wife with respect, rarely calling 
upon her to work at a trade or behaving 
to her with brutal violence. His family 
life is as a rule happy, his children are 
often more judiciously fed than those of 
his neighbours, and are brought up without 
resort to so many scoldings and blows. 
He is very persistent — he endures hard- 
ships and faces opposition with a conquer- 
ing perseverance. He takes up a new 
pursuit, he enters on new conditions of 
life, he begins again and again after 
failures with an energy and resourceful- 
ness, if not greater, certainly more patient 
than that of the Anglo-Saxon. He is 

Introduction xxiii 

essentially religious and has the conscious- 
ness of a relationship between himself and 
a higher power — a sort of spiritual intuition. 
This is evident by a thousand signs — by 
a vein of poetry in the most practical, by 
the admiration for goodness in the hardest, 
by a capacity for reverence, by the value 
he sets on the sense of the communal 
weal, by an interest in the unnecessary 
and the ideal, by his turn for philosophy 
and by his love for good music. He is 
the child of men who wrote the Psalms, 
but he is also the child of the modern 
time, imbued with its spirit of inquiry 
and impatient of all forms of unreason. 

These advantages, due to tradition, in- 
heritance and to training, are counter- 
balanced by disadvantages. The Jew is 
often timid and inclined to the subterfuge 
of the timid. He rarely tries frontal 
attacks, and his methods lead him to be 
suspected of duplicity. He likes making 
things easy for everyone, even for wrong- 

xxiv Introduction 

doers, and he is disinclined to rouse ani- 
mosity by openly punishing his enemy. 
His charity errs in being kind rather 
than remedial. He is essentially a town- 
liver, kept off the land for so many years 
and prevented by his Sabbath Laws from 
so many forms of labour, he has been 
driven to trade, and to trade he has 
applied his natural intelligence and his 
acquired persistency. He is thus a keen, 
hard bargainer, following the scent of gain 
through all the intricacies of exchange. 
In his success he develops unlovely 
qualities and is often a gambler. 

His memory of persecution has made 
him more conscious of rights than of 
duties, at anyrate in his dealings with 
the Gentiles. He will have what he has 
paid for, and, if possible, a little more, 
with one result among others, that he is 
unpopular as a landlord even though he 
may do no more than the law allows. 

Often, however, his very vices seem 

Introduction xxv 

to be a perversion of his virtues ; the 
self-confidence of his dignity makes him 
self-assertive and loud, his persistency 
makes him hard, and even his spirituality 
is apt to be perverted to materialism. 
He goes after money as if it were his 
god. He throws ardour into his enjoy- 
ment of wealth, and he finds in the excite- 
ment of speculation the life he misses in wor- 
ship. The Jew, who is by nature spiritual, 
tends to becomes material or sensuous, 
and in East London is sometimes notable 
for his coarseness and vulgarity. Altogether 
he has not popular qualities. His virtues 
raise him above his neighbours, his ability 
enables him to pass them in the race for 
wealth, and his manners give him the 
appearance of superiority. The immigrant 
Jew has, moreover, habits of living 
acquired in other countries which offend 
the prejudiced Englishman, who is apt 
to call ' dirty ' whatever is foreign. 

The Jew, thus distinct from his neigh- 

xxvi Introduction 

bours, has lately become much more 
prominent in the Industrial World. He 
has taken his place as a workman among 
other workmen. He has begun to adopt 
the methods of Trade Unions, and in the 
branches of certain trades he has become 
supreme. He often takes an active part in 
local government and even in 'sport.' He 
gets on, and in the search after health 
and wealth succeeds in being the most 
healthy and the most wealthy. The Jew, 
who thus becomes prominent, is not like 
an Irishman or a German immigrant who 
becomes prominent, he is the represen- 
tative of a distinct people settled in the 
community, a people with a peculiar history 
and character, and related by close ties 
with a kindred established in all parts 
of the civilised world. 

His prominence is thus a fact which 
commands notice and cannot be left un- 

Will the Jew be absorbed in the 

Introduction xxvii 

British as other races have been absorbed, 
and yield to the meek forces of tolera- 
tion what he has never yielded to per- 
secution ? 

Will he develop along his own lines, 
preserve the type while he adapts it 
to new surroundings, remain a Jew 
while he becomes a better Jew, • and in 
this way add a new element to the 
British national life? 

Will he arouse against him the jealousy 
of his neighbours, and again in indirect 
way bring upon himself persecution ? 

These questions are being answered in 
one way or the other. The answers in- 
volve a policy in which everyone is 
taking a part by his conversation or by 
his action, inasmuch as everyone has 
dealings with Jews. 

The object of these essays is to assist 
their readers to a right answer, and there- 
fore to a right policy. 

The writers have had special qualifica- 

xxviii Introduction 

tions for their work. Mr Russell came 
highly commended from the authorities at 
Oxford. He had a year at his command 
before undertaking the duties he now 
performs in the Indian Education De- 
partment. He spent much of this year 
in and about Whitechapel, visiting at 
the homes and clubs and meeting-places 
of the Jews. He took pains to interview 
officials and others concerned in the 
administration of law or charity, and 
having thus amassed his facts, he brought 
a fresh mind to their study. 

Mr Lewis has lived for many years 
in Toynbee Hall. He is a Jew and 
a Cambridge graduate, a Wrangler and 
an Oriental scholar. He has as a 
teacher in elementary schools, as a 
visitor for relief, as a school-manager, as 
an agent for the Children's Holiday Fund, 
and as a member of the Whitechapel Dis- 
trict Board of Works come into close and 
various contact with his neighbours. He 

Introduction xxix 

is familiar among all sorts and conditions 
of people. 

Mr Arkell has had the great advantage 
of working with Mr Charles Booth, and 
with him did the maps which illustrate 
his Life and Labour of London. 

Both Mr Russell and Mr Lewis had 
at their command the resources of 
Toynbee Hall. This place, representing 
not one set of opinion but many sets, 
having as its residents men of strong faith 
and different faith, both political and religi- 
ous, has generally avoided partisan suspicion. 
Jews and Gentiles alike are therefore in 
relation with its activities, and have been 
ready to put their information at the 
service of the essayists. They, sharing 
in the life of Toynbee Hall, have re- 
garded this effort as one in which they 
are called to help, and have, when it has 
been possible, provided an open door by 
which the inquirers could enter. 

But it is the residents of the place — 

XXX Introduction 

the succession of the men from the Uni- 
versities who follow one another in making 
their home for a few years in Whitechapel — 
from whom much help was obtained. These 
men have an accumulation of experience, 
impressions hardly noticed, memories inter- 
woven with memories, opinions which have 
grown without being formed, knowledge 
which is perhaps most intimate because 
unconscious. From them the writers in 
familiar conversation have been able to 
get light which has sometimes given 
another aspect to facts, and they have 
had, as it were, the use of many eyes, ears 
and minds in forming their judgments. 

The Council of Toynbee Hall — acting as 
trustees for the fund — settled the subjects 
and chose the writers. I have no authority 
to speak for them, but speaking for myself, 
I can express the hope that, whatever policy 
in their dealings with the Jews these 
essays may lead their readers to favour, 
the chief effect will be to do away with 

Introduction xxxi 

the prejudices which are founded either on 
the selfishness which is jealous , of the 
Jews' success or on the ignorance which 
is irritated at their different habits and 



Notes on Map 

Since the days of Cromwell the Jews have 

lived near the eastern boundary of the 

City, but the great increase of their numbers 

and their spread over a large part of East 

London is a matter of comparatively recent 


The map of Jewish East London has 

been prepared to show the extent of the 

Jewish settlement, which has grown up 

around the old Ghetto by the City walls, 

and also the proportions of Jew and Gentile 

resident in the district. While the map 

embraces the great Jewish area of East 

London, it has not been thought necessary 

to extend it so as to include some minor 
c xxxiii 

xxxiv Notes on Map 

Jewish colonies, such as that in Dalston 
around Sandringham Road or in Hackney, 
north of Victoria Park. They have been 
omitted as, although in these and a few 
other outlying districts, the Jews are a 
noticeable component of the population, 
their numbers are small when compared 
with the central mass, of their co-religionists, 
and they are far from being the dominant 
factor in the neighbourhood in which they 
live. A district extending from Bow to 
Limehouse on the one hand, to Shoreditch 
and the City of London on the other is 
thus included in the map. 

The information possessed by the London 
School Board, covering the whole area of 
the inquiry, would, it was thought, form 
the best basis for a comparative statement, 
and our thanks are due to the Board for 
kindly permitting their officers to assist in 
the work, as well as to the Superintendents 
of Visitors of the Tower Hamlets and 
Hackney Divisions for their co-operation. 

Notes on Map xxxv 

Nor must the intimate local knowledge- and 
sympathetic help of the Visitors be forgotten, 
for without these the work would have 
been much more difficult. 

The School Board Visitors' schedules 
contain particulars of all families with 
children of school age, and the officers make 
a note of all infants as possible future 
scholars, so that, practically, information was 
available respecting all families with children 
under fourteen years of age. 

These particulars have been taken out 
street by street, the Jewish families being 
distinguished from the non-Jewish. The 
characteristics of the Jews are many and 
distinctive ; Christian name and surname, 
the school to which the children go, the 
observance of the Jewish holidays, etc. ; all 
these tokens are so clear that it proved 
comparatively easy to discriminate. 

In dealing with the information thus ob- 
tained an assumption has been made similar 
to that made by Mr Charles Booth in his 

xxxvi Notes on Map 

inquiry concerning London poverty, i.e., 
that the proportion of Jews and Gentiles 
in the homes where there are no children is 
the same as amongst the families appearing 
on the schedules. Jewish families being 
usually larger than those of their fellow- 
townsmen, the proportions have been calcu- 
lated on the number of parents and children 
instead of the number of families. Generally 
the street is taken as the unit, but it was 
found possible to deal with the longer streets 
in sections, whilst local concentrations of 
either Jew or Gentile have been treated 
separately. Registered lodging-houses and 
other places where family life does not 
obtain were another source of possible error, 
and for these, allowances have been made ; 
while hospitals, workhouses and other large 
public institutions have been left uncoloured. 
For graphic representation the inhabitants 
of the area have been divided into six classes, 
each represented on the map by a separate 
tint ranging from bright red to dark blue, 

Notes on Map xxxvii 

the red tints becoming lighter and the 
blues darker as the proportion of Jews in- 
creases. Thfe scheme of colour is as under : 

1. Less than 5 per cent, of Jews . . . Red 

2. 5 per cent, and less than 25 per cent, of Jews, Lt. red 

3. 25 per cent. „ 50 per cent. „ Pink 

4. 50 per cent. „ 75 per cent. „ Light blue 

5. 75 per cent. „ 95 per cent. „ Med. blue 

6. 95 per cent, to 100 per cent, of Jews . Dark blue 

While the dark blue and red represent 
respectively a practically Jewish or Gentile 
population, the five per cent, allowance in 
classes six and one has been made so that the 
presence of a single family diverse from 
the rest might not create a false impression. 
It will also be noted that in all the streets 
coloured blue the majority of the people 
are Jewish. 

Within the area represented the propor- 
tion of Jews varies ; the population being 
almost entirely Jewish near the City, and 
becoming gradually less so as we recede 
from that centre, until at the extreme east 

xxxvili Notes on Map 

this element is lo-t amid the mass of typical 

The portion bounded on the City side 
by the Minories, Houndsditch and Bishops- 
gate, north by the Great Eastern Railway 
and Buxton Street, and South by Cable 
Street, forms the central Jewish area. 
Within its bounds are several well-defined 
intensely Jewish districts : 

(i). That inclosed by Houndsditch and 
Commercial Street, and Whitechapel 
High Street and White's Row. 
(2). The old Tenter Ground between 
Great Alie Street and Great Prescot 
(3). The portion of St George's North, 
betwixt Cannon Street Road and 
Backchurch Lane. This area is 
even more Jewish than it appears, 
the percentage of Jews in many 
of the streets being nearly as high 
as in the darker patches. 
^4). The triangle formed by Commercial 

Notes on Map xxxix 

Street, Old Montague Street and 

H anbury Street. 
In these areas it will be noted that 
the division between Jew and Gentile is 
usually sharply defined. In Spitalfields 
most of the red patches represent regis- 
tered lodging - houses. In St George's 
East the streets coloured red are strong- 
holds of the London labouring people, 
carmen, dockers, etc., mainly Irish, who 
have no dealings >vith the Jews and will 
not live with them. Broken windows and 
other forcible arguments have not in- 
frequently been used to convince the un- 
lucky Jew, who has had the temerity to 
take up his abode in these streets, that for 
him, at least, they are not desirable homes. 
Some of the smaller courts still resist 
the Jewish tide, the landlords objecting 
to Jewish tenants, and a similar prejudice 
keeps the Jew out of a few block dwell- 
ings, whilst in others, restrictions as to 
family and other matters are equally 

xl Notes on Map 

effective, although not imposed with this 

The gradual spread of the Jews, due 
partly to immigration and partly to the 
normal increase of a prolific people, has 
followed what may be termed the path 
of least resistance. From Whitechapel 
the outflowing wave has moved along 
the great highways, especially White- 
chapel Road and Commercial Road, and 
into the streets immediately off these 
thoroughfares. In streets not directly 
connected with the main roads, and not 
readily reached, the influx has been slow 
and is comparatively recent. In some 
long streets directly connected with a 
main road, a distinct difference may be 
noted between the near and remote ends 
of the street. Bancroft Road is an 
exarnple of this kind. The same tend- 
ency to spread along the main thorough- 
fares is seen in the outlying portions, 
smaller waves flowing along the Cam- 

Notes on Map xli 

bridge Road, Green Street and Coborn 

Besides the outward trend, due primarily- 
to increase of population, other causes 
affect the distribution, chief among these 
being the ownership of the dwellings and 
the displacements consequent on rebuilding. 
Some landlords will not let to Jews, 
whilst others invariably prefer Jewish 
tenants because a higher rent can be 
extracted from them, at least this is the 
reason assigned by unkind critics. Re- 
building is an important factor in the 
movement, and whenever houses are re- 
built or, as is more usual, replaced by 
tenement dwellings, the proportion of 
Jews sensibly increases. Numerous in- 
stances of these variations might be cited 
but a few will suffice. Displacements due 
to change of ownership are frequently 
concealed in the map, the property being 
in small holdings, but it is noticeable 
in small courts, where a single owner is 

xlii Notes on Map 

usual. Challis Court, Waterloo Court, 
Wellington Buildings and other courts in 
St George's East, are examples of this 
class of change. All were Christian until 
a few years ago, but are now entirely 
Jewish, the properties having been sold, 
rents raised and the old tenants replaced. 
Lucas Street is specially noticeable in 
this connection ; the west side, owned 
by Jewish landlords, being over sixty per 
cent. Jewish as compared with twenty per 
cent, on the other side. Of changes due 
to rebuilding the eastern part of Under- 
wood Street is an example, as are the 
Ravenscroft Buildings near Hackney Road 
and the dwellings off Stepney Green, 
Perhaps the most noticeable instance is 
the London County Council dwellings at 
Shoreditch, more than half the inhabitants 
being Jewish in Marlowe Buildings and 
some other blocks, while in the old J ago 
the Jew was hardly found. 

Whilst these changes hasten the Judaisa- 

Notes on Map xliii 

tion of East London, other causes resist 
this general tendency in places. Race 
prejudice is strong. The antagonism of 
the Irish combined with geographical 
and industrial causes, has kept Wapping 
free from Jews, none being found between 
the Gravel Lane and Wapping Bridges, 
whilst, as already mentioned, there are 
several streets in St George's East without 
a Jew, in close proximity to strongly Jewish 
streets. Houses are held by employers 
for their work-people; most of the breweries 
provide dwellings for some of their men. 
The landlords' objection to Hebrew tenants, 
especially in the case of large blocks of 
dwellings owned by companies, is a potent 
factor, as in the dwellings erected by the 
Great Eastern Railway Company and 
mostly occupied by railway men; also the 
Albert and Metropolitan Buildings in Mile 
End New Town, where Jews are not 
admitted as tenants. 

Of the future of these districts there 

xliv Notes on Map 

is little doubt but that they must soon be- 
come almost entirely Jewish. Within the 
last four or five years the movement has 
been rapid in the district east of Bedford 
Street. Streets that a few years back 
were English and non-Jewish, have now 
a number of Jews, and the gradual process 
of the substitution of a Jewish family for a 
former occupant is transforming the neigh- 
bourhood ; whilst, if a Jewish family remove, 
the key of the house will certainly be 
sold to a co-relisfionist. In addition to 
this, the pressure due to demolitions of 
houses near the City for warehouses, 
railway extensions and business premises, 
constantly compelling the inhabitants of 
this district to seek new homes, tends 
to increase rather than diminish, and with 
it the change in the outer district may 
be expected to keep pace. 

There are signs, however, that future 
growth may not follow the lines of the 
past. The Jewish authorities have seen 

Notes on Map xlv 

the evils of the crowded area in East 
London, and are making efforts to induce 
their people to settle in the outskirts. 
The more reasonable rents demanded 
in the outer suburbs add force to the 
argument, and we may hope that, so far 
as the central area is concerned, the con- 
gestion of the Jewish colony has reached 
its limits. 

The information was collected between 
March and October 1899, ^-nd the map 
represents with fair accuracy the condi- 
tion of things obtaining in the summer 
of that year. Some changes have taken 
place since then, the most noticeable 
being the commencement of the clearance 
of the courts and alleys between Middle- 
sex Street and Bell Lane. 



By C. Russell, B.A. 



It would perhaps be correct to say that a cosmo- 
the Jewish question all over the world is Qn^tion 

one and indivisible. None of the local 

* The following essay is the result of studies and inquiries 
■which have occupied me for about a year. I have received 
assistance from a great variety of sources, but especially from 
many members of the Jewish community, whose Icindness and 
courtesy in giving help has added greatly to the pleasantness of 
my work. I must, however, content myself with a general 
acknowledgment of my obligations. It is not only that detailed 
■acknowledgments would involve too long a list, but few, perhaps, 
of those to whom my thanks are due would care to have even the 
semblance of responsibility for my conclusions. As Mr H. S. 
Lewis, however, speaks for himself, I may take this opportunity 
-of confessing my indebtedness to him. Between my conclusions 
and his the reader must be the judge. It is fair to explain that Mr 
Lewis has an intimate and familiar knowledge of the Whitechapel 
Jewry with which my brief experience cannot be compared. But 
while there are, no doubt, advantages in seeing a subject from the 
inside, it is also sometimes an advantage to see it freshly and with 
wholly unbiassed eyes ; and this may possibly be a case in which 
an outsider has a better chance of appreciating the broader tendencies 
■which are at work. 


2 The Jew in London 

problems which the presence of a Jewish 
population creates can be treated satis- 
factorily in isolation from the rest. They 
are all merged in a single huge problem. 
Two features of the Jewish character are 
mainly accountable for this ; and they are 
among the commonplaces of the subject. 
One is the peculiar 'solidarity' which 
holds the Jewish race together ; the other 
is the no less remarkable ' adaptability ' 
which allows continuous changes to take 
place in its character and distribution. 
Thus the Jewish community of the East 
End has on the one hand been largely 
dependent, for the support of its institu- 
tions and the guidance of its affairs,, 
upon the Jews of Hampstead and Bays- 
water. On the other hand, its condition 
is affected even more by the amount of 
foreign immigration. This in its turn is 
largely determined by events in Russian 
Poland. The Whitechapel problem thus 
turns out to be European in scope, and 

Introductory 3 

it is not much less bewildering in its inner 

complexity than in the immense range 

over which it spreads itself. Besides 

being part of a larger question, it contains 

a multitude of smaller ones, and opens up 

a field of inquiry in which racial, industrial 

and religious questions are bound up with 

one another, and refuse to be dissociated. 

There is one problem, however, the National- 

problem of the ' nationalisation ' of the 
Jew, which recurs wherever the children 
of Israel have pitched their tents. Super- 
ficially, at any rate, they have a marvellous 
faculty of adapting themselves to a new 
environment. They are quick at picking 
up new habits and ideas, and doubtless 
they make genuine efforts to assimilate 
themselves. But it is everywhere a 
question how far they can be said to 
really assume the nationality of their 
adopted country. To the Gentile, at any 
rate, this point is of central interest in all 
Jewish affairs, and it is a point which, to 

4 The Jew in London 

some extent, admits of isolated treatment. 
Different experiments are being tried in 
different parts of the world, and in each 
case the result may be judged, more or 
less provisionally, upon its own merits. 
The following essay is an attempt to 
indicate some of the bearings of this 
problem as it presents itself in the East 
End of London, and to estimate as fairly 
as may be the results which are likely to 
be worked out by the Anglo-Jewish 
method of solving it. For it will readily 
be seen that the Jewish question, as it 
presents itself in the East End, has a 
variety of peculiar features ; and it is fair 
to add that in recent years it has been 
presenting itself to the leaders of the 
Anglo- Jewish community under circum- 
stances of peculiar difficulty. 

These circumstances may be said to 
TheiRusso- date from the outbreak of Russian Anti- 

Jewish In- 

"""^ Semitism in 1881, which let loose a flood 

of Jewish immigrants. Huge numbers of 

Introductory 5 

them arrived in London in a pitiable and 
more or less destitute condition. Dirty, 
poverty-stricken, and degraded alike in 
morals and physique by the oppressive 
conditions of their Ghetto-life in Russia, 
they seemed by no means a promising 
addition to the country's strength, and it 
was hardly to be expected that they 
would be received as welcome guests. 
Their British co-religionists, however, 
would not — perhaps did not dare to — 
disown responsibility for them, and accord- 
ingly found themselves confronted with a 
very formidable task. The invasion of 
the country by hordes of hungry Israelites, 
who seemed unfairly qualified for success 
in the industrial market by the combina- 
tion of a sleuth-hound instinct for gain, 
with 'an indefinitely low standard of life,' 
naturally stirred up a certain amount of 
jealous hostility among the working-classes. 
To disarm this hostility, by removing all 
just grounds for it, was a task that called 

6 The Jew in London 

phiian- for tact and prudence, besides entailing a 


Measures large expenditure. Through the Jewish 
Board of Guardians, however, and the 
Russo-Jewish Committee, the community- 
took the matter in hand with admirable 
shrewdness and energy, and if they cannot 
be said to have stemmed the tide of 
immigration, did very much to lessen its 
evil effects. Numbers of immigrants were 
sent on to America or the colonies, and 
many of the least promising cases were 
repatriated ; while every effort was made 
to improve the conditions of those who 
remained. Loans, allowances and relief 
in various forms were granted to numbers 
of the poorer applicants, and an inspector 
was appointed to insure the better sanita- 
tion of their homes. By a system of 
hiring out sewing-machines, the industry 
of the foreigners had already been directed 
into a channel for which it proved itself 
conspicuously qualified, and at the same 
time was able to partially exonerate itself 

Introductory 7 

from the charge of unfair competition with 
English labour. Efforts were also made 
to ' Anglicise ' the new arrivals in language, 
habits and ideas, and these again (at any- 
rate in the case of the rising generation), 
have proved themselves astonishingly 
successful. The crisis was thus tided over, 
and a possible burst of Anti-Semitism was 
averted ; but the situation is still one that 
requires constant watchfulness on the 
part of the English Jews. Their burden 
was lightened, it is true, towards the end 
of the decade, by a considerable slacken- 
ing in the rush of immigration. But at 
the present moment it appears to be 
again increasing,* and in any case it 
would be idle to imagine that the immi- 
gration difficulty is disposed of, so long 
as we are liable to be inundated afresh by 

* There is no available material for anything like a trustworthy 
statistical estimate of the number of immigrants who come here to 
stay. Such evidence, however, as is obtainable, points to the fact 
that the influx of Russian and Polish Jews has increased to a con- 
siderable extent in the last few years (w. Board of Trade Report on 
• Immigration and Emigration.') 

8 The Jew in London 

any new or reactionary departure in the 
policy of the Russian Government. And it 
will appear further on that the British work- 
man still has certain grievances against the 
foreign Jew that are not wholly imaginary. 
Scope and It is a subject that has hitherto been 

Purpose of 

this Essay generally treated from the economic side. 
Whether the Jewish immigrant is, on 
the whole, a blessing or a curse to the 
East End, is not, however, by any 
means a purely economic question. It 
is commonly said that he contributes 
nothing to the strength of the nation ; and 
whether this charge is just depends 
mainly on the extent to which he enters 
into the nation's life. So long as the 
Jews remain an isolated and peculiar 
people, self-centred in their organisation, 
and fundamentally alien in their ideas and 
aims, the rapid growth of their community 
can hardly be regarded with complete 
satisfaction. The more prosperous and 
successful they become, the more hostility 

Introductory 9 

and jealousy are likely to be aroused by 
their presence ; and it is conceivable that 
they might develop into an actual source 
of danger. A ' state within a state ' is 
generally recognised as an undesirable 
anomaly ; and so long as the Jews remain 
independent and unabsorbed, they must 
expect to be regarded as strangers in the 
land. Now, it is obvious that as circum- 
stances at present stand, the East End 
Jews must be regarded as in effect an 
alien community. A' considerable pro- 
portion of them speak a foreign tongue ; 
while in religion, in character and habits, 
and in social and industrial organisation, 
they are marked off from their neighbours 
by peculiar features. It is the object 
of this essay to inquire how far these 
peculiarities appear to be of a permanent 
or an eradicable nature, and how far 
they constitute — or are likely in the 
future to constitute — an impassable barrier 
between Jewry and the outer world. 

lo The Jew in London 

It is a question which presents itself under 
three more or less distinguishable aspects. 
There is : — 

(i). The general social question : How far 
do the Jewish and Gentile popula- 
tion mingle with and mutually affect 
one another ? Is there any ap- 
preciable tendency towards a closer 
amalgamation ? 

(2). The industrial question : What is the 
effect of economic conditions in 
maintaining or diminishing on the 
one hand the isolation, and on the 
other the unpopularity of the Jewish 

(3). The religious question : How far is 
the ' separateness ' of the Jewish 
community due to the tribal and 
exclusive character of Judaism ? 
And how far is their religion likely 
to exercise a lasting influence in this 
direction ? 

It is quite obvious — and perhaps it will 

Introductory 1 1 

become even more obvious as we proceed — 
that the three questions are intimately 
connected. They overlap one another 
along the whole line, and are bound to- 
gether by numberless and intricate threads 
of causation. But, for the sake of con- 
venience, it is perhaps simpler to consider 
each under a separate heading. 


pTuiation ^^^ ^°^^^ Jewish population of London may- 
be very roughly estimated at 110,000, of 
whom about 100,000 live in the East End ; 
and out of these something like 60,000 have 
been born abroad.! That their numbers are 
rapidly increasing is beyond dispute ; though 
it is questionable whether the bulk of this 
increase is due to immigration or to the 
extraordinarily prolific character of Jewish 
marriages. There is little doubt, however, 
that it is considerably augmented from both 
sources. The area covered by the Jewish 
quarter is extending its limits every year. 

* For a concrete picture of social life in the East End Jewry the 
reader is recommended to study Mr Zangwill's ' Children of the 
Ghetto,' and to supplement it with Mrs Sidney Webb's admirable 
sketch of 'The Jewish Community' in Life and Labour of the 
People (Vol. III.) 

t Appendix A. 


The Social Question 1 3 

Overflowing the boundaries of Whitechapel, 
they are spreading northward and eastward 
into Bethnal Green and Mile End, and 
southward into St George's-in-the-East ; 
while further away in Hackney and Shore- 
ditch to the north, and Stepney, Limehouse 
and Bow to the east, a rather more pros- 
perous and less foreign element has estab- 
hshed itself, and formed new centres for 
the growth of the community. And beyond 
this there is a considerable migration into 
remote parts of London, — notably into the 
district of Soho, where the Jewish tailoring 
industry is rapidly establishing itself over an 
increasing area. 

Dirt, overcrowding, industry and sobriety Effect on 

the Neigh- 
may be set down as the most conspicuous tourhood 

features of these foreign settlements. In 
many cases they have completely trans- 
formed the character of the neighbourhood. 
There are certain districts of Whitechapel, 
which — before they were over-run by the 
foreigners — were haunted by roughs and 

14 The Jew in London 

criminals of the worst description, and had 
as evil a reputation as any slums in London. 
These are now exceptionally quiet and 
orderly ; and, except in school hours, 
generally alive with swarms of small 
children whose brightness, decency of garb, 
and apparent enjoyment of life give almost 
a sunny aspect to their surroundings. The 
change, indeed, is perhaps rather more super- 
ficially striking than it deserves to be. It 
must not be supposed that it is wholly from 
black to white, or that the criminal element 
has completely vanished. The foreign Jew 
avoids the grosser and more outrageous 
forms of crime ; but he errs in the direction 
of what his enemies would call the meaner, 
and his friends the less brutal vices. He 
has few scruples and sometimes considerable 
ability in such matters as perjury and swind- 
ling ; and often rouses disgust in those who 
come across him by what an English work- 
man described to me as his 'crawlin' 
under'and ways.' It is also well-known 

The Social Qtiestion 1 5 

that he is an inveterate gambler. Nttmerous 
police reports and the recent agitation for 
a Jewish industrial school, further seem to 
testify to the growth of a class of youthful 
pick-pockets in the community. There are 
many respects, in short, in which the 
Judaised districts are still capable of im- 
provement ; but it may be said that the 
rufifian element and the hopelessly degraded 
type of home have entirely disappeared. 
There are, of course, other causes besides 
the expansion of the Jewish quarter which 
have contributed to this change ; but the 
Jews are entitled to a share in the credit 
There is something very typical of the 
Jewish character in the way in which, under 
the protection of a policeman's whistle, they 
obtain a footing in such districts and quietly 
displace the former population. I have 
heard a bitter opponent of the foreign 
immigrants (himself, by the way, an English 
Jew) violently denouncing their masterful 
progress and encroachment, and in the same 

1 6 The Jew in London 

breath instancing certain streets' in Bethnal 
Green, which are now inhabited by foreigners, 
and a few years ago were so full of ruffians 
that he hardly dared to pass through them, 
even by daylight. It is a process in which 
the meek effectively assert their title to the 
inheritance of the earth. 
Anti-Jew- In those districts on the edge of the 

ish Feeling ^ 

foreign quarter, where the native population 
is thus being driven out, there is naturally 
a considerable amount of hostile feeling. 
And seeing that the method by which this 
victorious progress is achieved commonly 
High consists in paying abnormally high rents, 

Rents and 

Over- and defraying the expense, in defiance of 

crowding jo ± 

all laws of decency or sanitation, by taking 
in a sufficient quantity of lodgers, the 
indignation which is aroused is by no 
means groundless or unjust. At the 
present moment this is the most widespread 
and acute grievance against the foreign 
element ; and it is undeniable that it opens 
up some very serious questions. The evil 

The Social Question 1 7 

of a system of high rents maintained by 
overcrowding is one that it would be hard 
to exaggerate ; and under present conditions 
there seems to be little hope of improvement. 
For the landlords are to be reckoned with 
as well as the tenants ; and a good deal 
of house property has lately changed hands, 
and been bought up — purely as an invest- 
ment — by the shrewder and wealthier 
among the foreigners themselves. As such 
investments are extremely profitable, the 
example of these small capitalists seems 
likely to be followed ; and it appears 
probable that rent in these districts may 
go on rising indefinitely, and no doubt 
■causing a proportionate rise in all the 
neighbouring districts. When there is a 
very limited supply of house-room and a 
rapidly growing demand, it is hardly to 
be expected that rents will remain moderate. 
A certain amount of weight, no doubt, is 
thrown into the other scale by philanthropic 
building enterprises ; but beyond this there 


1 8 The Jew in London 

seems to be no remedy except in the 
enforcement of the sanitary law ; and it 
is a case in which it seems almost impos- 
sible for inspection to be made thoroughly 
Causes of The CEuscs of this abnormal demand for 

Congestion . ^ . , 

houses within the Jewish quarter are not 
very far to seek. It is natural for a race 
of strangers to herd together ; and in the 
case of Jews who wish to observe strictly 
the ordinances of their religion, it is 
absolutely necessary for them to remain 
in the region of synagogues and ' kosher ' 
meat. Thus the newly-arrived immigrant 
probably, in the first instance, takes up his 
quarters with a relative or ' landsmann ' • 
and in any case it is out of the question 
for him to go far afield until he has mastered 
Language the EngHsh language. And the Yiddish- 
speaking community is at once so large 

* Since the above was written the rent question has reached a much 
more acute stage ; but a vigorous agitation has done something 
to check many of the grosser evils of house-speculation. 

The Social Question 1 9 

and so socially isolated that, for the adult 

immigrant, there is little need to put himself 

to this trouble. With the children, indeed, 

who have passed through an elementary 

school the case is very different ; but even 

these after they have grown up, seem often 

to remain in the district, out of regard 

to the feelings of their parents, who are 

perhaps dependent on them for support. 

Beyond all this, there are naturally strong 

inducements to remain in a district which 

is full of Jewish institutions. Charitable charities 

relief may there be obtained from a great 

variety of sources, ranging from the Board 

of Guardians in Middlesex Street down 

to the free Medical Missions of the con- 

versionist societies ; and there is every 

facility for the training of their children, — 

from the great Free School in Bell Lane, Free School 

'^ and ' Che- 

which provides free clothing and free meals, ■'"''"' 
along with an admirable elementary education, 
down to the small and frequently insanitary 
' Chedarim,' where a foreign ' Melammed ' 

20 The Jew in London 

sometimes charges as much as two shillings 
or half-a-crown a week, for instilling a pro- 
bably ephemeral knowledge of the Hebrew 
language. Amongst other attractions must 
be reckoned the daily market in Wentworth 
Street, where commodities and prices are 
adapted to their demands. 
Industrial A further cause of the permanent con- 
gestion of the Jewish population is to be 
found in industrial conditions. Whitechapel 
is the great centre of the typically Jewish 
trades ; and in these trades employment 
in the slack season is generally so uncertain, 
and the hours of work in the busy season 
so long, that it is a great convenience and 
advantage for a man to live in the immediate 
neighbourhood of his work. And in the 
tailoring trade, at any rate, it is almost 
necessary for workshops to be within easy 
reach of the Citj', as work is constantly- 
being sent to and fro ; so that as far as 
their industry is concerned there seems to 
be little hope of any very wide dispersion. 

The Social Question 2 1 

But beyond these special causes, a good ^■"T" 
deal must be set down to the general char- character 
acter and habits of the immigrants. In 
the first place, they have no particular 
objection to overcrowding. They have 
been thoroughly inured to the worst con- 
ditions in their native country ; and what 
to an Englishman would be intolerable is 
scarcely a hardship to the newly-arrived 
immigrant from Poland. He does not 
expect to live prosperously at once ; and 
while he is occupied in gaining a footing 
in his new home he is ready to lower his 
standard of life indefinitely. And in the 
second place, there is a strongly sociable and 
clannish spirit among the Jews which naturallj'' 
draws them together ; and in the case of the 
fresh immigrant this is intensified by a sharp 
distrust and suspicion — not only of all 
'goyim' or Gentiles — but even of Enghsh 
Jews, whom he regards as little better, and 
as quite fallen away from the orthodox 
tenets of Judaism. 

22 The Jew in London 

Efforts at This local Concentration is, of course, a 


tion great obstacle to the ' Anglicisation ' of the 
foreign Jews. But in spite of this, a sur- 
prising measure of success seems to attend 
the efforts of the Anglo- Jewish community 
in that direction. The system of apprentice- 
ship adopted by the Board of Guardians 
and the Location and Information Bureau 
of the Russo-Jewish Committee, both make 
it their object to relieve the strain upon 
the ' congested ' industries and districts. It 
is true that only a tiny proportion of the 
community is directly affected by these 
measures, and a considerable amount of 
opposition is encountered, on the grounds 
that they are likely to result in compulsory 
Sabbath-breaking, and the consequent under- 
mining of Judaism ; but on the whole they 
seem to have quite an appreciable effect. A 
similar suspicion seems to have been enter- 
tained even in regard to the teaching of 
English ; but the free evening classes 
organised for that purpose by the Russo- 

The Social Question 23 

Jewish Committee appear to be increasingly 
effective. Thus according to a late report 
' the number of individual attendances at 
the classes in the year 1896-97 amounted to 
57,684, a number considerably larger than 
the total of any year since the classes were 
started,' and 'the Committee believe that a 
certain prejudice which was experienced to 
a limited extent when the classes were first 
started has now entirely passed away, and 
illusory ideas as to any possible religious 
decadence being likely to result from the pre- 
liminary step of learning English in the pro- 
cess of becoming " Anglicised " are no longer 
entertained.' Whether such ideas are quite 
as ' illusory ' as is here maintained is a point 
with which I propose to deal further on ; 
but the decreased suspicion must be taken 
as evidence of a gradual modification of tone 
and attitude. 

The ' Anglicising ' process, however, can- Their Suc- 

^ *-* ^ cess in Case 

not be said to be very widely or thoroughly °^ children 
effective, except in the case of the rising 

24 The Jew in London 

generation. Here the transformation effected 
by an English training is astonishing in its 
completeness. All the children who pass 
through an elementary school may be said 
to grow up into ' English Jews ' ; and in 
this phrase there is implied almost a world of 
difference. This, in fact, is one of the central 
features of the whole Anglo- Jewish question. 
There appears to be almost a stronger line 
English and of Severance between the English and 


Jews foreign Jew than between the English Jew 
and Gentile. In habits, ideas and religion 
they are fundamentally distinct ; and when 
they come much into contact there is even 
mutual hostility and contempt. In White- 
chapel the bitterest enemies of the foreign 
immigrant that I have come across have 
been English Jews ; while the foreigners 
are commonly shocked and scandalised at 
the laxity in faith, and the shamelessly 
' non- observant ' lives of their English co- 
religionists. Charges of hypocrisy on the 
one side, and of flagrant impiety on the 

The Social Question 25 

other, are freely preferred ; and in secular, 
as in religious interests, the two sections 
appear to have little in common. The 
same line is drawn very clearly by public 
opinion among the Gentile population. 
English Jews I have found to be surprisingly 
popular. They are pronounced to. be good 
fellows, and 'just like us Christians.' They 
spend their money freely and 'have the 
best of everything ' ; and command respect, 
especially amongst the habituds of the public- 
house, by the. lordly style in which they 
take their pleasures. Foreigners, on the 
other hand, are for the most part, cordially 
disliked. They are accused of cutting down 
wages, of displacing British labour, of dealing 
solely with one another, and generally of 
being dirty and disreputable members of 
society. It is true that this ill-feeling is 
by no means universal, and does not, except 
under special circumstances, amount to any- 
thing like a bitter hostility; but it presents 
a sufficiently marked contrast to the friendly 

26 The Jew in London 

feeling which is generally entertained towards 
the English Jews. 
Drawbacks The process of 'Anglicising* foreign 

of Anglici- 

sation children is so far eminently successful ; 
but, unfortunately, it can hardly be claimed 
that it is a process of unalloyed improve- 
ment. While outgrowing many of the 
virtues of their fathers, they are apt to 
pick up the fashionable vices of their 
adopted country. If swearing, betting and 
a passion for the turf are to be taken as 
the hall-marks of our nationality, the young 
English Jew of Whitechapel must be allowed 
to be British to the core. Drunkenness, 
it is true, he does not affect ; though he 
drinks a good deal, he drinks circumspectly, 
and rarely, if ever, falls a victim to the 
passion for alcohol. He inherits, in fact, 
the prudence, temperance and self-mastery, 
which centuries of harsh discipline have 
impressed on the Jewish character ; while 
he loses much of the devotion, religious 
enthusiasm and intense inner life which 

The Social Question 27 

belong to the adherents of a persecuted 
faith. The Ghetto-type is strangely com- 
pounded of superstitions, meannesses and 
ideal aspirations ; and the process of 
emancipation is naturally ambiguous in 
its results. What is gained in breadth is 
lost in depth ; and it is perhaps question- 
able whether, on the whole, the English- 
bred Jews are as respectable a human 
species as their foreign parents. But, 
although the two types seem tolerably 
well marked, there is, of course, a sufficient 
gradation and variety of character in each 
to make any reasoning upon such a question 
more or less vague and unsatisfactory. 

How far the peculiarities of the Jewish 
mind and temperament are, on the one 
hand, hereditary, and, on the other, due 
to education and environment,* is too 

* It would be interesting to work out the bearings of Jewish 
history upon the scientific controversy concerning the inheritance 
of acquired qualities. It is perhaps noteworthy that in ordinary 
conversation upon any point of Jewish psychology, it is an almost 
invariable assumption that such transmission has taken place. 

28 The Jew in London 

large and complex a question to be fairly 
within the scope of this essay. But the 
part which education has played in the 
formation and development of a Jewish 
type is certainly too important to be 
Education passed over. It is true that so far as 
this education has been peculiarly Jewish, 
it has always been religious rather than 
secular in character ; and the discussion 
of it should, therefore, perhaps be de- 
ferred. But it is worth while to remark 
the general agreement as to its efficacy 
in sharpening the intelligence, and 
developing that power of subtle and 
abstract calculation, which has contributed 
so largely to the competitive success and, 
progress of the Jewish race. The Jews 
have always been 'a nation of students.' 
The Talmud sets the scholar above the 
king ; and a thorough training in Hebrew 
is still held a matter of the highest im- 
portance. Five is recognised as the proper 
age at which a child should begin to 

The Social Question 29 

study the Law ; and a pious parent is 
ready to make almost any sacrifice to 
secure what is, in his eyes, a thorough 
and competent instruction for his children. 
It is true that this sort of education, Teaching 

of Hebrew 

being valued purely from the religious 
standpoint, is apt to be mechanical and 
superficial. The object in the first in- 
stance is to enable the child to follow 
the synagogue service, and understand 
the portion of the Law which is appointed 
to be read for each week. Hence the 
faculty of speedy translation is apt to be 
cultivated at the cost of thoroughness and 
full comprehension. And, to an outsider, 
at any rate, the rapid sing-song in which 
the sacred writings are commonly read 
and translated, appears hardly compatible 
with a very intelligent grasp or apprecia- 
tion of their meaning. This, however, is 
a matter upon which a Gentile's impres- 
sion is probably worthless ; and the educa- 
tional value of this teaching certainly 

30 The Jew in London 

seems to be well established by its results. 
The foreign children at the East End 
board schools are universally allowed to 
be sharper and more intelligent than the 
English, and they carry off a large pro- 
portion of prizes and scholarships. There 
can be little doubt that this is due, in 
part at any rate, to the extra teaching 
which they receive in Hebrew.* The 
study of the Law is, in fact, a sort of 
classical education for them ; and, no 
doubt, it has something of the same effect, 
on a narrower scale, as the study of 
Greek and Latin has on the average 
English schoolboy. Both are rather 
mechanically imbibed, and to all practical 
purposes forgotten very shortly after leav- 
ing school; but both have some permanent 
effect in the training and development of 
the mind. The study of languages, indeed 
— and in a special degree of dead languages 

*Two other considerations, however, must be allowed some 
weight : (i) the greater precocity of Jewish children ; (2) the greater 
stimulus and encouragement afforded in Jewish homes. 

The Social Question 3 1 

— seems to have an educational value that 
can hardly be supplied from any other 
source. The task of recognising ideas 
which are disguised in a totally different 
medium of expression involves a certain 
degree of actual mental exercise that can 
hardly be evaded. A boy is obliged to 
use his head in a way that is quite un- 
called for, so long as it is merely treated 
as a passive receptacle for facts and 
names. Moreover, it must be remembered 
that the original and native language of 
the foreign child is ' Yiddish ' — a ' jargon ' 
which mainly consists of bad German — 
and that besides learning English he has 
this Hebrew education superadded. He 
is thus practically a master of three 
languages ; and it is evident that the 
degree of mental activity which this im- 
plies must be very considerable. There Defects of 


is little doubt, in fact, that it is, on the Training 
whole, excessive. Such a training is too 
purely intellectual, and involves too much 

$2 The few in London 

strain upon the intellectual faculties. The 
school hours of some of the children who 
attend cheder as well as an elementary 
school, seem to be almost incredibly long, 
and have a very serious effect upon their 
physique. Moreover, by the time a child 
leaves school he is apt to be worn out 
in mind as well as in body ; suc2i abnormal 
and forced development of the brain- 
power in early years is bound to be 
followed by a reaction. 

There is, however, a certain toughness 
of fibre in the mental, as well as the 
physical constitution of the Jew, which, 
no doubt, makes the evil effect of such 
a system much less considerable than 
might have been anticipated. Still, its 
net result is, in many respects, unsatisfac- 
tory. The mental energy which it absorbs 
might be directed into more profitable 
channels. For the instruction thus given 
seems to have little, if any, direct bearing 
upon after-life. In Russia, of course, 

The Social Question 33 

it is a necessary preparation for a life 
in which almost every detail is regulated 
by a religious code ; and in the eyes of 
the Russian parent who has settled in 
Whitechapel, this is still presumably its 
end and purpose. But in England the 
alien influences under which the child 
grows up almost invariably seem to prove 
too strong ; and as soon as he leaves 
cheder, he practically leaves the Judaism 
of the Polish Ghetto behind him ; and the 
devout intentions of his parents are- frus- 
trated. When the child has celebrated 
his Barmitzvah or religious majority (at the 
age of thirteen), his parents' responsibility 
ceases, and with it, apparently, the growth 
of the spiritual or Judaic half of his 
nature. From that point his development 
is upon purely secular lines. One or two 
Melammediin (Hebrew teachers) have ad 
mitted to me, mournfully, that Hebrew studies 
are scarcely ever prosecuted beyond school 
age ; and a very unfavourable contrast is 

34 The Jew in London 

drawn between the state of things in Eng- 
land and in Russia. There are, no doubt, 
exceptions, but this seems to be a general 
rule. The younger portion of the com- 
munity bears a reputation for impiety, 
which does not speak highly for the 
efficacy of its cheder education. This 
must be judged, therefore, wholly by its 
value as an intellectual training. As 
religious teaching, it appears that it does 
not, as a rule, serve the purpose for which 
it is intended ; and for what are commonly 
called ' practical ' ends it is obviously quite 
EfFectof But we are here mainly concerned with 
as a Check its effects in modifying or retarding the 

to Assimi- 

iiation process of assimilation. The hours spent 
in the cheder must have some tendency 
to counteract the purely English training 
of the elementary school. The child is 
here impressed with the fact that he is 
a Jew and different from English children ; 
and, if he has any imagination, he is 

The Social Question 35 

perhaps moved by the idea that his people 
are exiles in a strange land. In a large 
majority of the chedarim, moreover, the 
teaching is given in 'Yiddish'; and in some 
the standard of cleanliness and ventila- 
tion is more Polish than English. Such 
conditions, no doubt, exercise some degree 
of retarding influence ; but, on the whole, 
it does not appear to be considerable. 
In many cases, no doubt, it is more than 
counteracted by the disgust which children 
acquire for all that is associated with 
such surroundings. Among the orthodox 
Jews of Whitechapel the increasing laxity 
and indifference of the rising generation 
is commonly recognised and deplored. As 
they grow up and make money and 
mingle with Christians, they bring them- 
selves more and more under de-judaising 
influences. They lose the sense of racial 
and religious separateness, and, with English 
habits and ideas, acquire something of 
English stolidity and inertia. The idealistic 

36 The Jew in London 

and enthusiastic elements of character which 
their parents imported from Poland do 
not seem to take root in English soil. 
Nominally, they remain Jewish in religion; 
but religion is no longer, one of the vital 
and potent factors in their life. 

Whether the transition should, on the 
whole, be called an improvement depends 
largely on the point of view. 
The Angii- Whether the English jew 'is a bettef 

cised Jew 

man than his foreign parent is' open to 
question, but it can hai"dly be disputed 
that he is a better citizen. His secular 
interests are less , bounded by his home 
and family, and he plays his part in local 
politics. There is a loss, no doubt, of 
many of the finer qualities which are 
bound up with a strong religious feeling ; 
but there is a gain in cleanliness and self- 
respect. The English Jew, moreover, is 
often an ardent patriot ; he is proud of 
being an Englishman, and seems generally 
to regard his foreign co-religionists from 

The Social Question 37 

the English rather, than the Jewish 
standpoint. Except, perhaps, in business 
matters, he has quite a different set of 
virtues and vices. In business he re- 
mains a • Jew in shrewdness and capacity, 
and often in unscfupulousness as well ;* 
though palpable lying and cheating are 
less characteristic of him than of his 
foreign brethren.' > Much of this change 
of character is, of course, due to emergence 
from poverty ; a fairly prosperous man 
has little to tempt him into, many of the 
meaner vices. He acknowledges a standard 
of respectability which niay not be a very 
lofty one, but none the less acts as a 
safeguard against certain anti-social tend- 
encies. Similarly, he has failings to which 
poverty is not liable, 

* The commonly received opinion that the standard of commercial 
ethics as recognised by Jews is, on the whole, somewhat lower than 
that acknowledged by the rest of the world may possibly be mere 
' prejudice ' ; and doubtless an element of prejudice often enters into 
it. But if so, it is a prejudice not wholly confined to Gentiles. In 
a recent interesting discussion in ' Young Israel ' of the supposed 
unpopularity of Jews and its causes, there are some cogent remarks 
on this point. 

38 The Jew in London 

Significance Great importance must evidently be 

of the 

Change attached to this change in social character. 
It would perhaps be difficult to exaggerate 
the contrast between the typical immigrant 
and the typical English Jew. It should 
be remembered, however, that such a com- 
parison must always be in some degree 
misleading. The gradual character and 
frequent incompleteness of the change is 
apt to be left out of sight. In a great 
number of cases the process is arrested at 
various stages ; and the total change is, 
perhaps, not generally accomplished in a 
single generation. Many generations, in 
fact, are likely to pass before all traces 
of the Ghetto can be eradicated. Still, 
up to a certain point, the process of 
adaptation is marvellously rapid, and sug- 
gests that a complete amalgamation with 
Gentiles may be the final, and possibly 
not very distant, solution of the Jewish 

The present tendency in this direction 

The Social Question 39 

certainly seems to be a strong one ; 
although there are many counteracting 
forces. A main obstacle is the rigid pro- 
hibition of intermarriage which is one ofimer- 

, marriage 

the articles of the Jewish religion ; and 
perhaps the safest test that could be used 
to measure any such tendency would be 
given by the number of mixed marriages. 
But, unfortunately, it is a point on which 
it is impossible to get any statistical 
evidence. There seems, however, to be a 
fairly general impression that the number 
is increasing; and looking at the matter 
from an a priori standpoint, it is certainly 
hard to see how it can be effectually dis- 
countenanced, so long as ' Anglicisation ' and 
social intercourse with Gentiles are en- 
couraged. In this respect, indeed, the policy Angio-jew- 
adopted by those who are in authority in '^ " '"^ 
the Anglo-Jewish community often seems 
to be in contradiction with itself. Facts 
seem to show that their two objects — of 
converting Jews into Englishmen and of 

40 The Jew in London 

keeping them rigorously 'separate' in their 
Judaism — are fundamentally inconsistent. 
The two methods of life are, of course, 
just capable of combination ; and among 
highly educated Jews there are, no doubt, 
a few conspicuous examples of it. But to 
expect that such a combination will ever 
become general, especially in the poorer 
classes, is to expect a very astonishing 
piece of psychological development. 
Mixture with Englishmen and the ab- 
sorption of English ideas can hardly fail 
to act as a dissolving force upon the 
crude Judaism of the East End. The 
question is, of course, primarily one of 
religion, but it has other aspects which 
are important enough to make it very 
complex. There seems to be a strong, if 
Tribal more or less unconscious, tribal instinct. 

Feeling , . , . 

which often persists after religion has lost 
its vitality, and no doubt sometimes has a 
reactive influence in strengthening a failing 
creed. But it is not to be anticipated 

The Social Question 41 

that such an instinct would long survive 
the decay of the religious system which 
has hitherto preserved it. Evidence, how- 
ever, of its present strength seems to be 
afforded by the rooted objection to inter- 
marriage which persists even among the 
laxer Jews. But it must be remembered 
that what is now taking place in the 
East End is virtually a new experiment, 
and has not yet had time to show any 
very marked or definite results. The vast 
majority of East End Jews are not more 
than a generation removed from a Russian 
Ghetto ; and j naturally they still bear 
more or less trace of their origin. 

But the point which gives its chief 
novelty and interest to the experiment is 
the complete absence of Anti-Semitic feel- Absence of 

. . Anti- 

ing. This is one of the most striking semitism 
features of the question as it presents 
itself in Whitechapel ; it is considerably 
truer of the British workman than even 
of the richer classes. In the higher levels 

42 The Jew in London 

of society there is still, no doubt, a certain 
amount of racial prejudice ; it is not un- 
common to meet with persons who have 
an instinctive and quite unreasoned dislike 
for Jews. But in the East End there is 
hardly a trace of this ; against the Jew as 
a Jew there seems to be no sort of hostile 
feeling. The English Jew, as has been 
remarked above, is surprisingly popular. 
And such hostility as does exist towards 
the foreign element is neither racial nor 
religious in character. It is always based 
either on some special grievance, whether 
real or imaginary, or — much more rarely — 
on mere insular objection to all foreign 
and outlandish persons. That is to say, 
that the ill-feeling which exists is not 
properly Anti-Semitic in character. It is 
true that on occasions it may seem to take 
this form, but at bottom it is something 
quite different. Thus an Englishman who 
has a personal quarrel with a Jew may 
very probably become an Anti-Semite for 

The Social Question 43 

the time being ; and Jews and Christians 
may occasionally find themselves ranged 
into opposite parties upon some point of 
political organisation or local government. 
But such incidents are quite exceptional, 
and do not indicate any deep or widely- 
spread antagonism. 

This absence of ill-will' may be said to 
be a new feature in the Semitic problem ; 
and it clearly has important bearings upon 
the question of assimilation. Through 
almost the whole of history, isolation has 
been forced upon the Jews by the hostile 
pressure of external forces, and the neces- 
sity of combination in the face of common 
dangers. When this pressure ceases the 
task of maintaining their separateness is 
likely to prove increasingly difficult ; in 
the long run, it can hardly be safeguarded 
except in an atmosphere of more or less 
mutual hostility. But this safeguard, ap- 
parently, is in the course of being broken 
down, not only by the general drift of 

44 The Jew in London 

social forces, but by the strenuous efforts 
by which the Jewish community itself en- 
deavours to remove all source of griev- 
ances and to smooth the path of 
Causes of It would be absurd, however, to imagine 

Mutual 111- . . 11 . 1 A 

Feeling that the questiou is at all simple. A certain 
amount of mutual antagonism still prevails, 
though it has ceased to be racial in 
character, and arises from causes that are 
likely to be more eradicable. On the side 
of the Gentiles there are certain grievances, 
apart from the house-rent question, which 
are largely due to jealousy of the industrial 
success achieved by the foreign Jews ; and 
when Jewish competition is acutely felt, 
these grievances, doubtless, often give rise 
to a pronounced feeling of hostility. And 
on the side of the foreign Jews themselves 
there is a certain sense of alienation from 
Gentiles, which is religious in its grounds, 
and tends to maintain a traditional aloof- 
ness from Gentile ways and Gentile 

The Social Question 45 

society.* As far as public opinion on 
either side is considered, these are the two 
principal sources of estrangement ; and it 
should be remarked that neither is ap- 
preciably active in the case of the English 
Jew — that is to say, of the Jew who is a 
generation or more removed from a foreign 

So far, therefore, the ' social question ' 
resolves itself partly into the economic and 
partly into the religious ; and it is to be 
hoped that further light may be thrown 
upon it in the following chapters. 

* The feeling of racial superiority is doubtless much stronger on 
the Jewish than on the Gentile side, though, of course, it is much 
more carefully concealed. It is perhaps rather characteristic of the 
chosen people to preserve a humble demeanour in public, while 
privately thanking God that they are not as other men are. On 
the other hand, I have several times had it remarked to nje by 
British workmen, that thS poor Jews are in many respects 'a 
pattern to us.' 


Scope of It is fortunately unnecessary to attempt a 


thorough treatment of the various economic 
questions which have been raised by the 
advent of the Jewish workman. To discuss 
such a subject in all its aspects and bear- 
ings would obviously be a colossal task ; 
and here it is only necessary to consider 
the condition and effects of Jewish industry 
in so far as they influence the relations 
between Jew and Gentile. The broad 
question with which we are concerned is 
this : — How far do industrial conditions tend 
to maintain or dissolve the existing solidarity 
and separateness of the Jewish community ? 
It has been indicated already that there 

are two principal economic considerations 


The Industrial Question 47 

which help largely to keep up the severance 
of Jew and Gentile, viz. : (i) the jealousy 
and ill-feeling on the side of Gentiles 
which is based upon economic grievances, 
and (2) the confinement of Jewish labour 
to certain specifically Jewish trades. 

It must first then be asked how much Economic 


justice there is in the common outcry 
against Jewish labour as an economic 
nuisance ; and how far Jewish competition 
in the labour market is likely to be 
a source of permanent hostility among 
English workmen? The question is im- 
portant, because it appears that on the 
answer to it may depend the possibility of 
art outbreak of Anti-Semitism in England. 
It may, at least, be safely said that there 
is little danger of Anti-Semitism from any 
other source. It has been contended, how- 
ever, that in the East End, conditions are 
almost ripe for a Juden-hetze ; and it is 
worth while to carefully examine what actual 
ground there may be for such an outbreak. 

48 The Jew in London 

The whole question of the industrial 
effects of Jewish labour has fortunately 
been sifted very thoroughly in recent years ; 
and in spite of the complexity and frequent 
contradictoriness of the evidence which has 
been produced, there seem to be certain 
inferences which can be drawn with con- 
Inquiries The question of alien immigration was 
Subject investigated in 1888 by a Committee of the 
House of Commons, and in 1889 a very 
exhaustive inquiry into the Sweating System 
was carried out by a Committee of the House 
of Lords. Various aspects of the question 
are very ably treated in Mr Charles Booth's 
' Life and Labour of the People in London ' ; 
and more recently the whole question of the 
' volume and effects ' of alien immigration, 
with especial reference to the boot-trade 
and women's labour, has been dealt with 
in a report to the Board of Trade, pub- 
lished in 1894. 
Complexity One main result of these investigations 

of the Issues 

The Industrial Question 49 

is to show the untrustworthiness of any- 
broad and simple generalisations on the 
subject. They certainly do not bear out 
the sweeping accusations which have been 
brought forward against the alien immigrant. 
' Pauper competition,' ' cutting down of 
wages,' ' displacement of labour,' are phrases 
that become discredited by a cool examina- 
tion of the facts. The picture of foreign 
paupers driving British workmen into work- 
houses or across the seas, which gives 
plausibility to the anti-alien cry, has not 
been justified. Nor, it should be added, 
has the rival picture, as drawn by the 
alien's friends, of the immigrant Jew as a 
sheer benefactor, importing new industries 
and astonishing virtues into the country. 
The Jew does not suck the blood of the 
British workman, but neither is he a dis- 
guised angel, showering unmixed blessings 
wherever he sets his foot. The whole 
matter is, in fact, too complicated to be 
disposed of in any such summary fashion. 


50 The Jew in London 

When a new factor, such as Jewish labour, 
is introduced into the huge and complex 
machinery of the industrial world, its in- 
fluence is felt, not in one but in many- 
directions ; and to imagine that its total 
effect can be made obvious by a few 
simple considerations is to be ignorant of 
the conditions of the problem. 
The Case It is easy to understand the sources 

against the 

Immigrants of the hostile feeling which is naturally 
aroused by the presence of these foreign 
workmen ; and certainly a strong prima 
facie case can be made out against them. 
They arrive in an abject and sometimes 
half-starved condition. They have been used 
to living amid the vilest surroundings, and 
are prepared to work for abnormally long 
hours, and under conditions that an English 

Low Stand- workman would not tolerate, for a wage 

ard of Life 

and Cheap that Will barely suffice to keep off starva- 


tion. Cheap labour of this sort can, of 
course, always find employment ; and the 
result is naturally a deterioriation both of 

The Industrial Question 5 1 

wages and skill. While ministering to the 
consumer's passion for cheapness, it is fatal 
to any sense of the dignity of a craft, and 
tends to the degradation of workman and 
product alike. It is not fair that the 
better workman should be handicapped by 
his self-respect, his sense of decency and 
his habit of thorough and conscientious 
craftmanship. Yet in a market where com- 
petition is fast and furious and cheapness 
an unfailing bait for purchasers, it may be 
urged that in any community there will 
always be sufficient temptation to produce 
articles of inferior quality, without aggra- 
vating the evil by importing alien labour 
of a sort that is exactly calculated to fall 
in with and profit by this mischievous 
tendency. And the ability to live on a 
starvation wage is not the only undesirable 
quality which gives an unfair advantage 
to the Jewish immigrant. The single eye 
with which the Tew will always strive after Love of 

-' ■' Profit 

what is profitable is at the root at once 

52 The Jew in London 

of his success, and of many of the mis- 
chievous results which ensue from • it. It 
gives him an advantage on the field of 
industrial competition which is not ob- 
viously earned by anything like a corre- 
sponding degree of social utility. The 
preference of the Jew for profit rather 
than wages, is a matter of common obser- 
competi- vation ; and the combination of this spirit 

tive Indi- 
vidualism with a strongly individualistic type of 

character, and a keen competitive instinct 

is apt to render his presence a common 

factor in the degradation of industry. He 

cuts his own way at the expense of the 

community's broader interests. Small 

Disorgani- masters, home work and the lack of 

sation of. 

Industry effcctive Organisation among the workmen 
are among the characteristic features of 
Jewish industry ; and they are obviously 
connected with one another in a common 

Resultant evil tendency. Such features combine to 


depress the workmen's condition and keep 
it on the lowest possible level, and are 

The Industrial Question 53 

mainly responsible for the worst evils of 
what is called the ' sweating system.' Low 
wages, uncertain employment, excessive 
hours of work and easy evasion of sanitary 
laws are almost everywhere characteristic 
of the small workshop ; and where work 
is taken out to be done at home they are 
even aggravated. The adoption of the 
large factory system is generally recognised 
as the remedy which is most likely to 
prove satisfactory ; but the Jewish indus- 
trial character is a force which must always 
militate against such a change. 

It is undeniable that Jewish workmen Defects of 


have many admirable qualities ; but they 
have also certain failings which might 
possibly be summed up as a lack of industrial 
morality. Gain is, to many of them, an 
object to be pursued at any cost. Their 
attitude is thus always the attitude of a 
bargain-driver ; and nothing that can be 
a possible source of gain comes amiss to 
them. They are, for the most part, quite 

54 The Jew in London 

ready to lie and cheat, and have no sense 
of shame in accepting charity. It is true 
that charitable reHef does not generally 
demoralise them, and that they rarely come 
upon the rates ; but none the less many 

•Pauper- among them are 'paupers' in the sense 
that they do not entirely support themselves, 
and are unfairly subsidised as competitors 
with English labour. For while the Jews 
as workmen are disunited and without 
organisation, and so far at the mercy of their 
employers, they have on the other hand 
as Jews a strong sense of racial community, 
and have organised systems of relief and 

Jewish mutual help which give the less competent 


among them a considerable advantage against 
Gentiles. This is not only seen in the 
admirably-managed system of Jewish charity ; 
it also works in less obvious ways. Thus it 
is a common complaint that, while an 
Englishman will deal with Jew or Gentile 
indiscriminately, the foreign Jews always 
deal with one another ; so that there is 

The Industrial Question 55 

a tacit combination which makes their 
competition more formidable than it deserves 
to be. If they mingled freely with the 
general population and entered the industrial 
market on the same terms as others, there 
would be less cause for grievance ; but so 
long as they remain an isolated and self- 
contained community whose hand is, in 
a sense, against every man's, it is only 
natural that they should incur hostility and 
that every man's hand should turn against 
them. And however true it may be that 
these objectionable features disappear as the 
foreigners become Anglicised, it is no less 
true that the evil is perennially renewed by 
the r stream of immigrants. 

Such, in brief outline, is the case against 
the foreign Jews ; and it may be said that, 
so far as they go, all the charges contained 
in it are roughly true. But if it is put 
forward as the whole truth it must be 
pronounced a misleading and radically unfair 
statement of the facts. And when it is 

56 The Jew in London 

supplemented by all that is to be said on 
the other side, it will perhaps be seen that 
it furnishes a very inadequate basis for the 
conclusions that have generally given rise 
to the anti-alien cry.* 
The other Thus ou the matter of the low standard 
of living and consequent lowness of wages, 
which are commonly supposed to prevail 
among the immigrants, there is undoubtedly 
a basis of truth in the anti-alien argument ; 
but it is a matter on which there has been 
considerable exaggeration. The 'greener' 
certainly has a remarkable capacity for 
living on the verge of starvation. According 
to a witness before the Sweating Commission, 
he is commonly able to cut down his daily 
fare to a red-herring and a cup of coffee. 
And that he works for terribly long hours 
is equally undeniable. The continuous 

* The rise in house-rent, for which the foreign element in 
the East End is responsible, is dealt with elsewhere. Though 
a much more real and more acutely felt grievance it is here 
left out of account, as it hardly enters into the general 
industrial question which is at the basis of the anti- alien 

siveness ' 

The Industrial Question 57 

strain is not as intolerable to him as to 
an Englishman ; and in order to increase 
his earnings he will often ruin his health 
by over-work. And living in this style 
he is, of course, enabled to subsist upon 
the minimum wage. But at the same time 
it would be a mistake to suppose that this 
contents him, or is accepted as other than«Progi 
a stepping-stone to comparative prosperity. 
It is, as a rule, only for a few months that 
his wages remain extremely low. In the 
meantime he is learning his trade and 
looking about him ; and in a surprisingly 
short time he becomes a fair workman 
and commands a fair workman's price. 
Generally shrewd and alert and fully alive 
to his own interests, he scarcely ever quite 
answers to the popular conception of the 
sweater's helpless victim. His condition 
is usually one of steady and continuous 
improvement, and he rarely sinks into 
that sodden and disheartened state which 
means hopeless poverty. It is true that 

58 The Jew in London 

chronic pauperism is not unknown in the 
community, but it seems to be more generally 
due to physical than to moral breakdown. 
In the worst times he seems always to 
remain ambitious and on the look-out for 
Elasticity a chance of rising. His standard of life, 

of Standard 

in fact, as has been well pointed out, is 
not to be called low so much as indefinitely 
'elastic' He is less easily- starved than 
the Englishman — but he is also less easily 
contented ; and there are many respects in 
which his way of life involves more expenses. 
While he spends little in drink, he is apt 
to fling away a good deal in gambling (though 
on the other hand, no doubt, he may 
occasionally supplement his earnings by 
winnings). But apart from this, he marries 
very early and almost invariably has a 
large family ; and as he becomes fairly 
well-to-do there are many calls upon his 
purse. The Hebrew education of his children 
has to be paid for ; and a certain amount 
of income commonly goes in charity and 

The Industrial Question 59 

synagogue subscriptions. His wife, more- 
over, is probably a more costly encumbrance 
than the Gentile's, as she very rarely, indeed, 
brings in any wages,* and is generally 
ambitious and fond of ostentation in the 
matter of clothes. According to Mr J. A. 
Dyche (an immigrant tailor who has recently 
been contributing with considerable ability 
to the Contemporary Review) Jewish women 
are, for the most part, ' idle, wasteful and 
extravagant. Amongf Tews again there Social 

° & J fc. Ambitions 

appears to be a keener spirit of emulation 
than among Gentiles ; they are continually 
struggling after some improvement in social 
position, which ordinarily has to be main- 
tained by increased expenditure. This strife 
for personal distinction seems to be one 
of the main causes of that multiplication of 
small organisations and institutions which 
is such a marked feature of the East End 
Jewry. It appears that the ambition of the 

* Miss Collet's Report on Foreign Immigration in Relation to 
Wotnen's Labour, p. 104. 

6o The Jew in London 

well-to-do and rising immigrant commonly 
soars after some kind of official dignity ; 
and as he is willing to pay for it — or, at least, 
to expend time and trouble in the per- 
formance of its duties — it is natural that a 
sphere should be readily found for the 
fulfilment of his aspirations. Hence the 
number of small synagogues or chevras, 
friendly societies and miscellaneous institu- 
tions, which spring up like mushrooms 
wherever the foreign Jews are gathered 
together. It should be clearly recognised 
that they form a community which is not 
stagnant in poverty, but everywhere bubbling 
up with life and enterprise ; * and that even 
the smallest manifestations of this vitality 
are significant as comments upon that 
damning charge of ' pauperism ' (with all 

* The recent extensive purchases of land at Benfleet seem to be an 
instance in which the enterprise of the foreign Jew has for once 
outrun his shrewdness. A large proportion of the buyers at last 
year's sales never paid more than the first deposit on their purchases. 
They are interesting, however, as an illustration of his independent 
and keenly speculative character. A less respectable illustration of 
the same feature is afforded by the growth of the class of rack-renting 

The Industrial Question 6i 

that is vaguely implied in it), which is 
commonly urged against the Jewish immi- 

It must next be asked how far the Qualities of 
success of the Jewish workman is really workmen 
due to the inferior quality of his work. It 
is a question which can hardly be treated 
singly, as it requires a different answer for 
each trade ; but there are a few general 
considerations which may first be taken 
into account. It is certainly true ' that 
Jewish labour is not typical of the highest 
class of skilled and conscientious work- 
manship. Work done on a highly sub- 
divided system and for a cheap market 
does not admit of such qualities ; and it 
is further obvious that the circumstances 
of the immigrant 'greener' are calculated 
to shut him out of the higher classes of 
industry. Even if he has been a skilled 
artisan at home, he has been accustomed 
to work on Russian methods ; and apart 
from that, his ignorance of the language 

62 The Jew in London 

is sufficient to keep him out of English 
Lack of workshops. He therefore drifts into one 
raining ^^ ^^ typically foreign industries which 
require no special training and are easily 
learned. He works irregularly and for a 
small pittance for a few weeks or months ; 
and as soon as he has mastered the trade 
and can earn a fair wage he aspires to 
becoming a small employer on his own 
account. Such an industrial training is 
obviously not calculated to produce a first- 
rate workman. Still it would be a great 
mistake to suppose that Jewish work 
differs from English, merely or mainly in 
being cheaper, more slovenly and less 
skilled. In certain qualities, such as neat- 
ness and finish, it can at least hold its 
own. But, on the whole, its success seems 
Intelligence rather due to the fact that it is exception- 
ally intelligent and well-organised. There 
is a Mediaeval 'jargon' proverb which has 
not yet lost its point : 

The Industrial Question 63 

' Save us from the Christian Koach (strength), 
Save us from the Jewish Moach (brains).' * 

It is largely his superior brain-equipment 
which gives the Jew a flying start in the 
industrial race. Good English labour, no 
doubt, has the advantage in thoroughness 
and solidity of workmanship ; but in the 
Jewish workshop decidedly more judgment 
seems to be shown in the distribution of 
skill. It is commonly said, for instance, 
that an English tailor will always put the 
same amount of work into every part of 
a garment ; whereas the Jew will content 
himself with inferior workmanship wher- 
ever good work is not required. Good 
management, economy of skill and a keen 
eye to the market are among the principal 
elements which have ensured the success 
of Jewish industry. It should be recog- 
nised, however, that at bottom their suc- 
cess is probably less a matter of skill and 
management than a matter of character. 

* Israel Abraham'syszczV^ Life in the Middle Ages, p. io6. 

64 The Jew in London 

Character As regards the industry, sobriety and 
thriftiness of the Jewish workman all 
accounts are unanimous, and in these 
respects the Englishman's inferiority is, 
unfortunately, very conspicuous. ' Every- 
one that striveth for the mastery,' said the 

Sobriety Christian apostle, ' is temperate in all 
things ' ; and the part which a temperate 
habit of life has played in the victorious 
progress of the Jewish workman can 
hardly be over-estimated. Of all the cir- 
cumstances which tell in his favour, the 
fact that he does not get drunk is one 
of the foremost. And although this 
superiority to alcohol is doubtless in part 
a matter of physical constitution, it must 
also be regarded as partly the outcome 

Tenacity of a disciplined and morally tenacious 
character. The poor Jew is not easily 
demoralised, and can spend his life with- 
out respect of circumstances in the un- 
flagging pursuit of an end. He has 
learned to take fortune's buffets and 

The Industrial Question 65 

rewards with equal thanks, and allows 
neither to throw him off his balance. 
He is governed, in fact, more by calcula- Long- 


tion than by impulse ; whereas an English- 
man of the same class is slow in learning 
to subordinate the present to the future. 
Before the Sweating Commission a state- 
ment was made by Augor Wilchinski, a 
Polish tailor, which is curiously typical of 
this quality : — ' I myself do not smoke, I 
am a teetotaller, and I believe in every- 
thing that will tend to make me better 
off.' * It is the confession of a faith that 
is likely to triumph in the industrial 
world, and it is perhaps the dominant 
creed among Jewish workmen. For al- 
though few even of the poorest Jews are 
total abstainers from either spirits or 
cigarettes, these indulgences are rigidly 
and almost universally subordinated to 
the great aim of becoming ' better off.' 
Such a type of character has, of course, 

* Minutes of Evidence, 4084. 

66 The Jew in London 

the defects of its qualities ; there is a 
lack of generosity and impulsiveness, and 
it is apt to generate a mean and profit- 
seeking spirit which is the reverse of 
attractive. Still its better points are 
worthy of emulation ; and it must, I 
think, be admitted that on the whole its 
success in the struggle for existence is 
due to its good rather than its bad 

It is time, however, to consider the effect 
which the influx of alien labour has actually 
had upon the trades into which it principally 
Tailoring enters. Of these the tailoring trade is con- 
siderably the most important. At the time 
of the last census no less than one-third of 
the total number of male Russians and Poles 
in the country (over ten years of age), were 
employed in this industry ; and, though it is 
impossible to speak with any certainty, the 
proportion seems to be fully maintained at 
the present time. The question with which 
we are concerned has here been very 


The Industrial Question 67 • 

thoroughly investigated, and it cannot be 
said that the Jewish tailor has been con- 
victed of any very pernicious influence upon 
the trade. He has introduced new methods 
and a new type of workmanship ; and it 
would be largely though not entirely true 
to say that he does not actually compete 
with the native industry. His work is 
confined to certain branches, which he may 
be said to monopolise. Jew and Gentile, separate 

Jewish and 

according to Mrs Sidney Webb, who centiie 

*" •' Branches 

speaks with authority, work ' in water-tight 
compartments.' Thus in the East End coat- 
making is a purely Jewish industry ; and it is 
worth remarking that it is better paid than 
any other branch of the trade.* Coats of 
a certain class cannot be made except upon 
a system which the Jews have practically 
introduced, and which Gentiles either from 
distaste or inability have never adopted. 

* ' The number of Jewish vest and trouser-makers is very small. 
The Jevfish coat-makers account for this on the^round that " it is 
impossible to make a living on vests and trousers."' (Report by 
Miss Collet on Foreign Immigration in Relation to Women's 
Labour, 1894, p. III). 

68 The Jew in London 

Machine- Work is donc by machine instead of by 

made Coats 

hand, and time and skill are economised by 
extreme subdivision of labour. The result 
is the cheap production of a fair quality 
of coat. The highest class of coat-making 
is still in the hands of the old-fashioned 
English tailor ; and there is no direct com- 
petition between the two sets of workmen. 
At the same time there is unquestionably a 
Indirect Certain amount of indirect competition ; and 
tio™^^ '' there is no doubt that, on the whole, the 
older and better-paid industry is losing 
ground. Jewish tailors have established 
themselves in Soho ; and much of the work 
done in the West End is undoubtedly pass- 
ing into their hands. From the consumer's 
point of view, the fit, quality and durability 
of the English-made garment seem to be 
less of an attraction than the cheapness and 
decent appearance of the newer article. 
The competition, however, is not between 
workmen, but between different classes of 
goods ; and even here it can only be said to 

The Industrial Question 69 

touch a limited section of the English trade. 
In any case the wages of the highest class 
of English tailor are quite unaffected by 
foreign competition ; and the competitive 
success of the new industry seems only to 
be won at the expense of the inferior 
qualities of English work. The Irish tailor 
of Whitechapel, and the second-rate English 
tailor of the West End are being driven 
out of the market ; but this is perhaps an 
instance in which the process of the survival 
of the fittest is tolerably justified in its 
results. Apart from this the only industry 
which appears to have been very seriously 
damaged by the introduction of Jewish 
methods is the second-hand clothes' trade ; 
and here, if tradition has any value, the 
competition must have resolved itself 
wholly into a struggle between Jew and 

Cheap production is of course a main cheapness 
element in the success of the imported 
industry ; but, at the same time, it would be 

70 The Jew in London 

quite unfair to describe the Jewish coat- 
maker as a mere slop-worker. In style, 
finish and elegance, if not in the more 
solid qualities, his work compares favourably 
with that of his English rivals. He is 
nimble with his fingers ; and it has been 
said that he uses the machine like an artist. 
And his prices in this instance do not 
necessarily imply cheap labour. Highly- 
skilled work can still command high wages, 
though it is confined to a few processes and 
only bestowed upon a small part of the 
garment. It is said that a first-rate 
machinist can sometimes earn as much as 
two shillings an hour in the busy season. 
That would of course be very exceptional ; 
but, on the whole, the average rate of wages 
throughout the industry does not appear to 
be specially low. The cheapness of the 
product is mainly due to the organisation 
and elaborate subdivision of work. 
Sub- There is much, no doubt, that might be 


said on the advantages and disadvantages 

The Industrial Question 7 1 

of the whole system of highly specialised 
and subdivided labour. That it suits 
the interest of the consumer is proved by 
its success, but its effect upon the standard 
of workmanship and the general morals 
of the workman is perhaps more dubious. 
Such a discussion, however, would here 
be irrelevant ; the responsibility for the 
new system cannot be put specially upon 
the Jew. It is a stage in the evolution 
of industry, and no one class of workmen 
is to be specially praised or blamed for it. 
If all Jewish tailors were to be swept out 
of London to-morrow, the old-fashioned 
industry could hardly be resuscitated to 
take their place. Cheap clothes {i.e., of 
the ready-made class), would be manu- 
factured on the subdivided method either 
in country factories or abroad, and would 
simply be imported to supply the London 
market. The change in the character ol 
the industry which is generally associated 
with Jewish labour is, in fact, due to 

72 The Jew in London 

industrial conditions which (in London) 
the Jew has been the first to see and 
take advantage of. The truth seems to 
be that the Jew has succeeded by adapting 
himself to the new conditions ; while the 
conservat- conservatism of the English workman 
English has kept him to the old grooves. Thus 


an English tailor will often absolutely 
refuse to use a machine, even when it is 
admittedly superior to hand-work ; and 
I have come across an instance of 
an English tailor sending work which 
required machining to a Jewish work- 
shop. So far as this spirit arises 
from the pride and tradition of good 
workmanship, it is no doubt commendable ; 
but so far as it proves unable to adapt 
itself to the present condition of the 
industrial environment, it cannot be ex- 
pected to hold its ground. 
Mantle- The ladles' jacket and mantle trade, 


again, is an industry which the Jewish 
immigrant has. virtually introduced into 

The Industrial Question 73 

this country. So far, at least, as the 

better class of work is concerned, the 

peculiar skill and methods of the foreign An im- 
Jew place him quite above the reach of industry 

native competition. To establish this it 
is sufficient to quote the following interest- 
ing letter from one of the largest whole- 
sale houses, in answer to an inquiry by 
Mr J. A. Dyche:— 

' St Paul's Churchyard, 
'London, ■^ist Janitary 1898. 

* Dear Sir, — In reply to your question Messrs 


as to the effect upon the home labour- wiiuams 

'■ & Co., on 

market of the work done in London by JfT.'^''. 

J Tailoring 

foreign Jewish tailors, it is only fair to 
remind you that the foreign Jewish tailors 
introduced new methods of manufacture, 
and created a trade which has become 
a distinct gain to the country's commerce. 

* We were, we believe, the first wholesale 
mantle manufacturers in town to employ 
foreign Jewish tailors in a factory, and 
it is interesting to recall our reasons for 

74 The Jew in London 

doing so. In the year 1885 the demand 
for ladies' tailor-made jackets came into 
vogue, and to meet the demand for our 
British and Colonial trade we were com- 
pelled to import large quantities of these 
garments from Germany. They were 
made of German materials by tailors in 
and around Berlin. 

' We tried to produce those garments 
in our own factories, but without success ; 
our women workers were unable to 
manipulate the hand-irons used by the 
tailors, and we could not get them - to do 
the work. As the fashion became more 
pronounced larger orders went abroad, and 
in 1888 _;^ 1 50,000 was sent to Germany 
in payment of these accounts. 

'In 1889 we decided to introduce foreign 
Jewish tailors and their special methods 
into a new factory we had recently built, 
with satisfactory results. Their work has 
been excellent, British material has been 
used instead of German, and a large part 

The Industrial Question 75 

of the money sent formerly to Berlin has 
been distributed among British manu- 
facturers and in wages. 

' The quality of the work has improved 
year by year, the garments made in our 
factory are better than those imported 

' Other English firms have followed our 
lead, and to-day the German press admits 
the loss of her trade, in those goods, with 

' Our experience shows that these foreign 
Jewish tailors do a class of work which our 
workers cannot undertake with success, and 
earn a high rate of pay. 

' Hitchcock, Williams & Co.' * 

The boot trade is the second in import- Boot- 
ance of the Jewish industries ; but here, 

unfortunately, the Jewish workman does 

not show to equal advantage. The class stronger 

. Case 

of work which he undertakes is distinctly against the 


inferior to that done by Englishmen, and 

* Quoted in the Jewish Chronicle, April 22, 1898. 

76 The Jew in London 

it cannot be claimed that he has introduced 
any very beneficial novelties in the way of 
method or organisation. There is no doubt 
that here the lower class of English work 
has suffered considerably from foreign com- 
petition ; but owing to the state of the trade 
it is impossible to estimate, with any approach 
to accuracy, the total effect which has been 
produced by immigrant labour. Here, as in 
tailoring, we find the old hand-sewn industry 
persisting but steadily losing ground before 
the cheaper production of machine-made 
goods. But the case is complicated by the 
introduction, not merely of sewing-machines, 
but of machinery on a large scale, and the 
ButTran- consequeut transition from small workshops 

sitional c • jit r^ i 

State of to factories. Such a transformation, of 

the Trade 

makes it course, involves a general readjustment of 

difficult ' £> ^ J 

thelfin-^'^ wages and methods, and when the total 

uence pj-Qcess is SO large and complex, the part 

played by such a factor as immigrant labour 

* Report to Board of Trade by Labour Department, 1894, p. 

The Industrial Question 'jy 

is comparatively insignificant. Here it is 
machinery and not Jewish immigration 
which has introduced the principle of 
subdivision ; and, in the long run, the 
competition which is formidable to the 
English industry in London, is not that 
of the Jew so much as that of the large 
provincial factory. Thus Mr Llewellyn Mr u. 


Smith, in the Report published in 1894, R^por' 
insists that ' the general character of the 
evolution of the boot and shoe trade has 
been entirely independent of foreign im- 
migration,' and the following is his sum- 
mary of the effect of Jewish labour: — 

' If it be desired to summarise in a word 
the influence of the Russian and Polish 
Jew on the character (as apart from the 
remuneration) of the boot and shoe trade 
in this country, it may be said to consist 
in this — that it has somewhat prolonged 
the intermediate stage of transition from 
hand-labour in small workshops to machine- 
labour in factories, by the provision of a 

78 The Jew in London 

supply of labour especially adapted to help 
handicraft on the small scale, and with 
sufficient powers of endurance and a suffici- 
ently low standard of living to enable them 
to make head (for a time at least) against 
the enormously superior odds of the great 
machine-industry.' * 

Home- In the branches of 'lasting' and 'finish- 


ing,' and in the 'sew-round' or slipper- 
making trade there is no doubt that the 
home-work, which is the province of the 
Jewish immigrant, is often done under bad 
conditions and for wretchedly low wages. 
In 1890 a strong effort was made to remedy 
this evil ; and a Jewish union was formed 
which took a creditable part in a general 
strike of boot and shoe operatives. The 
The outcome of this was an 'agreement' be- 

' Indoor 

Agreement' twcen workmen and employers, to the 
effect that all manufacturers should provide 
workshops and that all work (except sew- 
round) should be done indoors. But since 

*.p. 71. 

The Industrial Question 79 

then the Hebrew branch of the National 
Union has been dissolved, and the agree- 
ment (so far as cheaper work is concerned) 
may almost be said to have fallen to the 
ground. In the last few years especially, 
outwork has revived to an increasing extent. 
It is also a trade in which the evil of ' slack 
times' is a recurring source of misery. 
These, however, are ills that seem mainly 
to affect the immigrants themselves, and, 
as far as competition is concerned, it does 
not appear that they are very dangerous 
foes to any class of English workmen. 
The better class of work is still done by 
Englishmen under ' statement ' prices ; and 
in the lower grade the Jew is perhaps the 
least formidable among the several com- 
petitors. That he has lowered the con- 
dition of the London trade is undeniable ; 
but it appears probable that it is only in 
virtue of these lowered conditions that the 
trade in Londdn has been enabled to 
survive. In cheapness of rent and the 

8o The Jew in London 

consequent facilities for introducing large 
machinery the provincial factories have 
advantages against which it is hard for 
London to compete. 
Cabinet- In cabinetmakiog there are large numbers 


of Jews employed ; and complaints are 
occasionally heard of the effects of ' greener ' 
labour. The better class of work, however, 
does not seem to have suffered appreciably, 
as the workmen are strongly organised, and 
Jew and Gentile alike can command good 
wages. A good deal of inferior work, no 
doubt, is done by foreigners in small work- 
shops ; but this seems hardly to have 
affected the general condition of the trade. 
Cheap furniture has for the most part 
created its own market, and does not 
compete to any considerable extent with 
the better class. There has been in late 
years a large increase in the export trade, 
which seems to be mainly due to the 
introduction of the foreign industry.* 

* Board of Trade Returns. 

The Industrial Question 8 1 

There are other trades such as cigar and 
cigarette-making, furriery, tin-working and 
street-selling, in which a fair proportion of 
foreign Jews are to be found. None of 
them, however, can be said to present any 
sufficiently remarkable features to call for 
special notice ; and it is worth while to 
consider briefly a general source of com- 
plaints against Jewish workmen, which 
perhaps constitutes a more serious indict- 
ment than any that has yet been mentioned. 

This is their alleged incapacity for trade- The j. 

organisation. It is a charge which is unionist 

certainly not groundless ; but at the same 

time it must be insisted that unqualified 

statements are no less misleading here than 

elsewhere. It must be remembered that 

trade-unionism is a new thing to the Polish 

Jew ; and it is natural that he should hold 

aloof from it until he has been educated 

into some sort of sympathy with English 

ideas upon the subject. And from the 

number of Jewish unions which have sprung 

ew as 

82 The Jew in London 

into existence in the last few years, it is 
evident that English ideas are not wholly- 
thrown away upon him. In the Jewish 
Year Book there is published a list of fifteen 
Jewish unions in London. Those in the 
mantlemaking, cabinetmaking, and cigar 
and cigarette-making trades are in a fairly 
flourishing condition. None of the others, 
however, seem to be of much account ; and 
the number of organisations in itself is in 
part a sign of weakness. The presence of 
rival unions in the same trade indicates a 
disunited state ; and possibly points to a 
radical incapacity for organisation on a large 
scale. Thus in the cabinet trade only 
half of the Jewish unionists belong to the 
Hebrew branch of the Alliance Cabinet- 
makers' Association, which is the principal 
organisation in the trade and has branches 
all over the kingdom ; the other half were 
unwilling to submit to the control of a 
central executive and founded an ' Inde- 
pendent' union of their own. Similarly in 

The Industrial Question 83 

the tailoring trade there are only about 
forty members of the' Hebrew branch of the 
Amalgamated Society of Tailors,* and the 
Jewish ' London Tailors', Machinists' and 
Pressers' Union,' in which the ' Independent' 
and 'International' unions were merged has 
quite recently again divided its ranks. That 
the state of Jewish unions is generally un- 
stable is an inference which is unmistakably 
forced upon anyone who has tried to 
gather information by visiting their secre- 
taries or going the round of their meeting- 
places, as given in the tables last published 
by the Board of Trade. Even out of the 
list given in the Jewish Year Book 
(published in August 1898), three had 
disappeared before November 1898, or 
were at least untraceable, one had had a 
' split ' and one was reduced in membership 
to the secretary and treasurer. The truth 
appears to be that the foreign Jew is easily 

* This branct, by the way, is not included in the Jewish Year 
Sook's list. 

84 The Jew in London 

roused to enthusiasm upon the subject, but 
is at once too quarrelsome and too impatient 
for results to be a 'good unionist.' He 
does not like paying so many pence a week 
without any prospect of a prompt or sub- 
stantial return ; and he seems to have a 
shrewd distrust both of fellow-unionists and 
officials. Each is too bent on playing for 
his own hand, and efiforts at organisation 
are not backed by any real feeling of 
solidarity. As, however, the foreigner be- 
comes thoroughly Anglicised, he seems 
generally to grow into sympathy with 
English ideas, and is able to shake off this 
reproach. It must also be remembered that 
the Jew has a genius for individual bargain- 
driving which goes far to counterbalance 
the lowering effect which his incapacity for 
organisation might have upon the rate of 
wages. Nor would it be quite fair to say 
that this cuts both ways when the employers 
are Jewish ; since it means that master and 
men can already deal with one another 

The Industrial Question 85 

upon tolerably even terms — a condition 
which English workmen can only assure by 

By way of summarising a somewhat summary 
desultory review of a large question, it 
will be as well to gather up briefly the 
points which are specially relevant to the 
present inquiry. As regards the economic 
grounds of Jew-hatred, it must be pro- 
nounced that the general arguments against 
Jewish labour are inconclusive and based 
on a partial view of the facts. The pro- 
gress of the Jew as a successful competitor 
in the labour-market is, no doubt, a source 
of some ill-feeling, which is accentuated by 
his ' aloofness,' and by certain unattractive 
features of his character. But in industrial 
conditions there do not seem to be any 
crrounds of permanent antagonism. In 
certain branches of work the Jews have 
the field to themselves, and, no doubt, in 
the process of establishing themselves in 
these industries they have made them- 

86 The Jew in London 

selves unpopular by (directly or indirectly) 
'displacing' English labour. Ill-feeling on 
this score is, however, in the nature of 
the case likely to be transitory ; and it may 
be added that almost all causes of ill- 
feeling are so far transitory that they dis- 
appear with regard to the English-born 
generation. It should be added ' that, 
apart from the justice of its grounds, 
the actual amount of ill-feeling is less 
than might be expected, and probably 
much less than is generally supposed. 
Attitude British workmen are, perhaps, the most 

of the 

British tolerant class in the world. They have 


a good-humoured way of recognising that 
even a Jew must live, and among the 
best of them there is a good deal of 
generous pride in the feeling that England 
is and should be 'a free country.' The 
outcry against the ' pauper alien ' seems, 
in fact, to be commoner, and on the 
whole more bitter in political than in 
industrial circles. A curious comment 

The Industrial Question 87 

upon the anti-alien movement was afforded 
by a recent debate in Toynbee Hall, which 
was opened by a gentleman from the 
West End, who advocated restrictive 
legislation. The hall was mainly filled 
with English workmen, but not a single 
one supported the speaker ; * and at the 
end of the debate he confessed (with 
almost unique honesty), that his own 
convictions on the subject were shaken. 
The meeting was certainly not fairly 
typical of East End opinion, but it repre- 
sented an attitude which is very common 
among the more thoughtful members 
of the working classes, f 

* The only expression of anti-alien sentiment was from a man 
who was heard after the debate had terminated, protesting that, 
for all that might be said, these foreigners were ' too damned 
artful,' — a protest which may also be taken as representing one 
section of public opinion. 

t The question of the real expediency of restrictive legislation is 
one on which a volume might be written. But without entering 
upon the question at all fuUy, it may be worth while to set down 
briefly one or two relevant considerations. On the one hand, 
merely in view of the overcrowded state of East London, and the 
evil of increasing house-rent, any diminution in the flow of 
immigrants would certainly be so far for the public advantage. On 
the other hand, the charges against the immigrants merely as 
industrial competitors are, at any rate, not sufficiently well 

88 The Jew in London 

concentra- III regard to the other question of the 

tion and ^ , 

Dispersion confinement of Jewish labour to specific 

of Jewish 

Labour trades, it appears that there are only two 
trades (viz., coat-making of the cheaper 
class and mantlemaking), to which the 
character of Jewish work is especially 
adapted, and of which it is, therefore, 
likely to have a permanent monopoly. 
Of bootmaking it is difficult to speak 

established to call for legislation ; and it appears that some more 
satisfactory remedy might be discovered for the evil of over- 
crowding. Or again, if home-work could be effectually discouraged 
and a check put upon the demand for cheap and unskilled labour, 
the volume of immigration might be reduced without recourse 
to a measure so repugnant to English traditions. It is further 
obvious that it is hardly possible to frame a measure which could 
distinguish between desirable and undesirable immigrants. 

It is a case, perhaps, in which more weight than usual ought to 
be allowed to what are often called 'sentimental' considerations. 
If the non-sentimental arguments are at all fairly balanced it would 
assuredly be a beggarly policy to shut the door which has stood 
open for so many generations. And some account, at least, should 
be taken of the moral effect upon a certain proportion of our own 
working classes. Indulgence in fine sentiments is not a failing to 
which the British workman is ordinarily very prone ; and the 
sentiment about England being 'a free country,' which is fairly 
common among the more intelligent of the working classes, is 
certainly one that deserves to be respected. Pride in one's own 
country is bound up in it together with a generous feeling towards 
foreigners, and such a combination of ideas is an element of liberal 
education which is worth retaining. A policy which would make 
this particular vein of patriotism impossible seems certainly to de- 
mand a strong justification. 

The Industrial Question 89 

positively ; but on the whole the tendency 
of altering conditions seems to be towards 
the exclusion rather than the attraction 
of foreign labour. The advantages of 
proximity to the City in the bespoke tailor- 
ing and bootmaking trades are, of course, 
a cause of local congestion which must not 
be underrated. In other trades, again, 
there seems to be no dividing line between 
Jews and Gentiles. They do (approxi- 
mately) the same branches of work, and 
are brought together in the workshop as 
competitors on even terms. And in such 
trades, wherever there is a tendency in 
favour of large factories as against small 
workshops and home-work, it must tend 
also to throw Jews and Gentiles into con- 
tact. But on the whole a slow process of 
dispersion seems to be taking place ; the 
alien population is gradually spreading into 
different trades and over a wider area. 
It must be remembered that efforts are 
continually being made by the Jewish Board 

90 The Jew in London 

of Guardians and Location and Information 
Bureau of the Russo-Jewish Committee 
to promote this dispersion, and though 
necessarily conducted on a small scale, 
their operations in this direction seem to 
be attended with a fair measure of success. 
Here, as elsewhere, assimilating forces 
begin to work mainly upon the second 
generation, as is shown by the fact that 
there are no specifically Anglo- Jewish 

It has already, perhaps, become fairly importance 

of the 

evident that the question of the fusion R=i'eio"s 

^ Element 

or continued separateness of the Jewish 
community is ultimately a religious question. 
It is in virtue of their religion, with its 
rigid system of observances, and its jealously 
tribal and exclusive character that the Jews 
have been, and still remain, a peculiar 
people. The orthodox Jew is continually 
kept in remembrance of his Jewishness Separatism 
by the observance of a unique code of 
prescribed and forbidden actions ; and 
throughout the year he celebrates a series 
of fast and holy days, designed to celebrate 
and symbolise various episodes In the history 
of his race. It is brought home to him 
by numberless observances that he is not 


92 The Jew in London 

as other men are ; and it is part of the 
duty of his people to keep itself 'un- 
spotted by the world.' The dietary laws 
are in themselves an effectual hindrance 
to social intercourse with Gentiles. Meat 
that is good enough for Christians is un- 
clean and an abomination to the Jew ; and 
it is almost as hard for him to eat at a 
Christian's table as to give his daughter 
in marriage to a Christian. He is never 
allowed to forget that he belongs to a 
chosen people, exalted above the nations, 
and consecrated and set apart for a peculiar 
mission. And when the isolative influence 
of such a religion is enforced by a general 
community of character and interests and 
a strong sense of racial fellowship, it is 
obviously a very potent factor. But, as 
has already been suggested, there are 
circumstances which make it appear doubt- 
ful whether its past influence can be per- 
manently maintained. 

The future of Judaism as a religion 

The Religious Question 93 

is, of course, an immense problem ; and 
it would be audacious to prophesy with 
any confidence. At the best only vague 
tendencies can be indicated. But it is 
impossible to discuss any Jewish question 
without taking some account of the re- 
ligious aspect of Jewish life ; it is inti- 
mately connected with all other aspects, 
and is certainly too vitally important a 

matter to be disregarded. And it is the Disorgan- 
ised and 
more necessary to go into the question Transi- 

*^ ^ tional State 

with some thoroughness, because at the "^ J"''^'^™ 
present moment it seems evident that 
English Judaism is in a state of unrest 
and instability, if not of rapid transforma- 
tion. The community is split up and 
disunited ; and the common religion which 
should hold it together assumes widely 
divergent forms in different sections. For 
it must be remembered that the Jews in 
England do not form a homogeneous com- 
munity ; Polish immigration has intro- 
duced a new type, which differs from 

94 The Jew in London 

the English in reHgion almost as much 
as in habits and appearance. The religion 
which the Polish immigrants bring here 
is the religion of the Ghetto ; it has been 
at once intensified and narrowed by ages 
of persecution, and consists largely in a 
devotion to the letter of the Law, which 
Effect of is by no means shared by those who 


from the have ffrown accustomed to a freer atmo- 

Ghetto ° 

sphere and a wider range of thought. At 
the same time it must be emphasised that 
the Ghetto-creed and the Ghetto type of 
character are pre-eminently typical of all 
Judaism. Judaism owes its strength and 
persistence, as well as its narrowness and 
impenetrability, to the stress of persecu- 
tion. So far, indeed, as it is rigidly 
orthodox modern Judaism is the fruit of 
the Ghetto ; and what may be the effect 
of its transference to a new environment 
is a problem which history has hardly as 
yet had time to solve. For the position 
of English Jews appears to be something 

The Religious Question 95 

almost new in Jewish history. It is not 
merely that they are tolerated, and share 
in all the privileges of citizenship ; nor 
that they are receiving an English educa- 
tion, and breathing an atmosphere of 
Western thought. The period happens 
also to be one of almost universal re- 
ligious disintegration. The barriers between 
creeds are everywhere breaking down ; 
and orthodox Judaism does not appear 
to be a creed specially capable of resist- 
ing the dissolving influences which critical 
thought can bring to bear upon it. And 
apart from the intellectual solvents, an 
even more powerful influence is perhaps 
brought to bear by the change to an 
easy and prosperous life ; a change which 
often seems to be dangerous, if not fatal, 
to a religion which has proved itself so 
marvellously adapted to the needs of the 
poor and afflicted. But whatever may 
be the causes, there is little question 
about the fact that Judaism has, to a great 

96 The Jew in London 

extent, lost its hold upon English Jews. 
It is generally recognised in Jewish circles 
that the stronghold of orthodoxy is in 
the East End where the foreign Jews 
congregate. And in the East End itself, 
the division between English and foreign 
Jews is roughly a division into the lax 
and the orthodox ; and within the ranks 
of the latter there are numerous gradations 
of orthodoxy, which (also very roughly) 
correspond to the degree of Anglicisation 
and length of residence in England. It 
is, moreover, generally recognised that 
the foreigners themselves are less strict 
observers of their religion than was the 
case ten years ago ; and this is doubtless 
due to the number who have become 
acclimatised to English habits in the 
Angiicisa- meantime. It can hardly be doubted that 

tion and 

Orthodoxy it is One of the results of the very praise- 
worthy efforts which the Anglo- Jewish 
community has made to 'Anglicise' the 
foreign immigrant. It was not, of course, 

The Religious Question 97 

intentional ; interference with religion is 
the last thing which the leaders of the 
community would be likely to attempt. 
But it appears to be an inevitable result 
of such efforts; and, although those in 
authority are naturally fain to deny it, 
there is an amount of feeling on the 
subject among the foreign population, 
which is strong evidence that the pro- 
cess of Anglicisation is apt to prove fata] 
to orthodoxy. Among the strictest sect 
of the new arrivals it is denied that 
there is such a thing as orthodoxy at 
all among the English Jews ; they are all 
regarded as 'reformers,' and the Chief 
Rabbi himself has been declared to be 
the 'Chief Reformer.' And to the ears 
of the devoutly orthodox such phrases 
perhaps carry a weight of sarcasm that 
.a Gentile can scarcely appreciate. 

A striking manifestation of the depth The West 

End Jews 

and extent of this hostile piety was ^°'' *f 

■*• ■' Chedarim 

recently evoked by a discussion of the 


98 The Jew in London 

chedarim, which took place at a West 
End conference on Jewish education. The 
cheder system was there rather sharply, 
but not unsympathetically, criticised ; but 
East End the result was an astonishing outburst of 


indignation in the East End, A meet- 
ing was held at the Jewish Working 
Men's Club, at which the bitterest speeches 
were delivered ; and a resolution was carried 
' amidst a scene of tumultuous enthusiasm ' 
to the effect, — 

' That we East End Jews protest against 
the discussion upon the chedarim and 
Talmud Torah at the Elementary Educa- 
tion Conference. 

' We further do not recognise the West 
End Jews as authorities upon Hebrew 
and religious education.' 

In the course of his speech, the mover 
of this resolution, the Rev. H. Orleansky 
(according to the report in the Jewish 
Chronicle) ' made a violent attack upon 
English Jews, especially the clergy who,' 

The Religious Question 99 

he said, 'were ignorant of the Torah and 
the Talmud, and who did nothing for the 
East Enders. They had no right to find 
fault. Let them mind their own business. 
The Chief Rabbi was their Rav, to decide 
upon questions of ritual law, but not to 
interfere beyond. Whatever the English 
Jews had done had been wrong. They 
had pulled down a synagogue before build- 
ing another. They had a free dispensary 
which was not free. The East End de- 
sired to be left alone. He protested 
against "reformers" dictating to those 
who were orthodox upon religious matters. 
They wanted men to criticise their actions 
who were learned in the Law, and 
could speak with- authority upon religious 
matters.' * 

It seems probable, moreover, that the strength 

the Ultra- 
logic of the situation is on the side of orthodox 


these ultra-orthodox foreigners. They ac- 
cept the whole system of Rabbinical 

* Jewish Chronicle, July 22, 1898, 

lOO The Jew in London 

ordinances, and frankly recognise that the 
whole duty of a Jew consists in the scrupul- 
ous observance of them. And they refuse 
to be lured from their path by the snares 
of ' Anglicisation ' and Western culture, to 
which their English co-religionists have 
fallen victims. They are at least consistent 
in their narrowness ; while it may be that 
English Jews are attempting an impossible 
compromise. It is undeniable that a 
number of English Jews know very little 
about the Talmud ; that their children, as 
a rule, get a very inadequate religious 
education ; and that a very small pro- 
portion of them are regular attendants at 
synagogue. But an important and, from 
the orthodox standpoint, a disquieting con- 
sideration is that each of these foreign 
immigrants commonly becomes responsible 
for a large family of Anglo-Jewish children. 
It is true that Polish orthodoxy is con- 
tinually recruiting its ranks with new 
arrivals ; but in this country it seems to 

The Religious Question loi 

be a phase that rarely outlasts a single 

But whatever may be the stability of Militant 


the ultra-orthodox elerhent, it must be 
credited with energy and enthusiasm ; 
and the strength of its protest is evidence 
of the real gap which severs English from 
Polish Judaism. It is quite recently, how- 
ever, that this protest has taken the shape 
of a formal secession from the English 
community. In September 1898, at the 
beginning of the Jewish New Year, a 
new synagogue was opened in Spitalfields, The 
by a society styling itself the Mahazike ^'"''^«f* 
Haddath (or ' Supporters of the Law '), 
which repudiates the authority of the Chief 
Rabbi, and takes its stand upon principles 
of the strictest orthodoxy. The new syna- 
gogue is the largest in the East End, 
and has accommodation for two thousand 
worshippers ; and next door to it is a 
Talmud Torah school, in which teaching 
is given to nearly one thousand children 

I02 The Jew in London 

in Hebrew, through the medium of Yiddish. 
The initial cost of the two institutions was 
about ;^6ooo ; and practically the whole sum 
was raised by the subscriptions of East End 
foreigners. It is obvious that a movement 
which can count on as much effort and sacri- 
fice as this implies must have a strong 
raison ditre ; and it testifies to a deeply-seated 
spirit of revolt. The same spirit is shown 
in a constant suspicion and jealousy of 
West End interference. The East End 
Jew is very far from considering himself 
the inferior of his wealthier co-religionists, 
iiide- and often displays a keen resentment at 


th"'E^8t °*^the idea that he is regarded mainly as 
^""^"^ an object of charitable schemes. He is 
fond of announcing that he does not want 
patrons and benefactors ; and sometimes 
he seems to have a lurking suspicion that 
charity may cloak schemes for the sub- 
version of his religion. It should be ex- 
plained, however, that it is mainly among 
the upper strata of the foreign community, 

The Religious Question 103 

who are comparatively prosperous, that 
this independent spirit is to be found ; 
and that there is a fairly large section to 
whom no amount of charity comes amiss. 
But even in such cases there seems to 
survive something of the spirit of Mr 
Zangwill's ' schnorrer ' ; and assistance is 
accepted as something rightfully due to 
them, rather than with any deep sense of 
gratitude or obligation.* Certainly, so far 
as the East End Jewry can be said to 
take up a common attitude at all towards 
their wealthier brethren, it is an ostenta- 
tiously independent if not a defiant atti- 
tude. And it cannot be doubted that 
their sense of alienation is grounded on 
a difference of religion. 

The secession of the Mahazike Haddath Bearings 

upon the 

has important bearings on the question of A'simiia- 
assimilation. When such a division has Q£=s''on 
been made and can no longer be dis- 

* A feature which may partly account for the generally acknow- 
ledged fact that charity does not ' demoralise ' them. 

I04 The Jew in London 

guised, the gap between the two sections 
is likely to widen. On the one hand, no 
doubt, the new synagogue will be a 
powerful force on the side of orthodoxy. 
It will probably attract a considerable 
proportion of new immigrants, and so far 
as these are concerned, will be an influence 
retarding their Anglicisation. But, on the 
other hand, by accentuating the breach 
between orthodox and unorthodox, it is 
likely to have the opposite effect upon 
those whom it fails to attract. For, 
apart from the question of orthodoxy, 
most immigrants are moved with the 
ambition to become Englishmen ; and 
seven or eight years' residence in this 
country is often enough to fill them with 
contempt for 'foreigners.' English Jews 
have a higher social standing ; and, 
naturally, it is the parvenu of the East 
End who most despises the Yiddish- 
speaking part of the community. Now 
a part of the effect which must be pro- 

The Religious Question 105 

duced by this schism in the congregation, 
will be to emphasise the association of 
extreme orthodoxy with the speech, habits 
and general social inferiority of foreigners. 
That is to say, in a majority of the 
community, and especially in the rising 
generation, it will serve to hasten the 
process of alienation from strict Judaism. 

In many quarters, indeed, orthodoxy has Mutual 

Esteem of 

already fallen into contempt through being the Two 


associated with foreigners of the lowest 
social grade. I have met an English Jew 
who assured me, with a grave counten- 
ance, that orthodoxy and dirt always 
went together ; and that the former was 
invariably found to vanish under the 
influence of soap and water. This is an 
epigrammatic statement of the case, but 
it has a remote basis of truth, and it 
certainly indicates the sort of feelings 
which the newly 'Anglicised' Jew is apt 
to entertain on the subject of his re- 
ligion. The contempt, however, which the 

io6 The Jew in London 

' Englishman ' of the Jewish community 
entertains for the 'foreigner' is heartily 
reciprocated. Each, in his own eyes, 
stands on a pinnacle above the other. 
They recognise totally different standards 
of human worth, and despise each other 
respectively for dirt and irreligion. The 
Mahazike Haddath is at once the outcome 
of this estrangement, and a force likely to 
perpetuate it. In it the ultra-orthodox part 
have cut themselves adrift from the body 
of the English Jewry, and are, therefore, 
no longer likely to check it in what seems 
its natural progress towards assimilation. 
Enli™ '° ^ somewhat similar testimony to the 
strength of the forces which make for 
assimilation, is afforded by the Zionist 
party. For it seems fairly plain that in 
England Zionism is in its essence a revolt 
against this tendency ; and it appears to 
differ widely in aim and motive from the 
Zionism of the Continent. Emigration to 
Palestine and the foundation of a Jewish 

The Religious Question 107 

State is there regarded principally as an 
answer to Anti - Semitism, and the only 
possible refuge from an intolerable state 
of things. Whereas in England the state 
of things is not intolerable ; and accord- 
ingly the movement has here awakened 
a comparatively feeble response. Among 
English Jews proper, in fact, there can 
hardly be said to be any Zionism at all. 
It has been estimated that there are ten 
thousand Zionists in England ; but practi- 
cally all of them seem to be foreign immi- 
grants. English Jews are for the most 
part either indifferent or hostile ; and those 
in authority have generally set their faces 
against it. The Chief Rabbi, for instance, 
has declared the movement to be ' an 
egregious blunder ' ; and it is generally 
deprecated as chimerical and extravagant. 
The Zionists, however, attach little im- 
portance to such expressions of Anglo- 
Jewish opinion, and look to the Continent 
for their lead, without apparently recognis- 

io8 The Jew in London 

ing that within their own ranks there is 
any divergence of ideas. Yet on the 
question of assimilation there is a signifi- 
cant difference of tone in the utterances 
of English and Continental Zionists. 
Thus Dr Herzl, at the Basle Con- 
gress, spoke of 'our efforts of assimila- 
tion, the unsuccess of which has brought 
us again together'; whereas to the Jewish 
World, the organ of the English Zionists, 
it is the glory of Zionism, that 'it has 
called a halt to the assimilators.'* It 
should be said in fairness that the con- 
tradiction is probably not so sharp as 
might appear, because the word 'assimila- 
tion ' is somewhat ambiguous ; but there 
is, undoubtedly, a broad difference of atti- 
tude. It is significant that the same word 
should, in England, stand for an imminent 
disaster to Judaism, and on the Continent 
for a heaven out of reach. Similarly,, 
it appears that in England Zionism is 

* Jewish World, September 2, 1898, p. 241. 

The Religious Question 109 

closely identified with extreme orthodoxy ; its 

1 f^-t , /^ Religious 

the Chief Rabbi of the Mahazike Haddath Basis 
is one of the prominent figures in the 
movement ; and at Basle it was Dr 
Gaster, the Chacham* of the Spanish and 
Portuguese congregation in England, who 
insisted that 'the religious element lies 
at the very foundation of the movement,' 
and moved a resolution to the effect that 
' Zionism will not undertake anything which 
would be contrary to Jewish religious law.' 
On the Continent the religious aspect of 
the movement (so far, at any rate, as 
its leaders are concerned) is quite over- 
shadowed by the political ; and neither 
Dr Herzl nor Dr Nordau are supposed 
to be very specially concerned about the 
survival of orthodoxy. An attempt, indeed, 
was made at a recent meeting of Zionists 
in East London, to criticise Dr Herzl 
for his lack of reference to religion ; and 

* Chacham (lit. wise man), the oiEcial title of the Chief Rabbi 
of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation. 

no The Jew in London 

although the speaker failed to obtain a 
hearing, he undoubtedly touched a point 
of difference which is likely to become 
more acute as the movement develops, 
and ceases to be a matter of mere en- 
thusiasm. Here, however, the peculiar 
character of English Zionism is of interest 
mainly as evidence of the progress which 
the English Jewry has made towards 
assimilation ; it shows that in the opinion, 
at least, of a section, this process has 
reached a point at which it becomes a 
menace to Judaism. Zionism and the cult 
of the ' National Idea,' are here proclaimed 
as a refuge against absorption among the 
Gentiles. Assimilation, it is held, must in 
the long run prove fatal to Judaism, and 
would be an ignoble end of Jewish history. 
The One effect of Zionism is evidently to 

Zionist as 

a Patriot raise in an emphatic form the old question, 
' Can Jews be patriots ? ' According to 
the most outspoken Zionists, Jews are not 
Englishmen and cannot regard England 

• The Religious Question 1 1 1 

as their home. This was stated pretty- 
unequivocally by Dr Gaster at the East 
End meeting : — ' Some of our Anti-Zionist 
friends have said that they prefer to remain 
citizens of a big nation to becoming 
members of a puny Jewish state. That 
is merely a matter of sentiment. As far 
as I am concerned I would rather live in 
a hut of my own than be a guest in a 
grand palace.' And the same thing has 
been put even more trenchantly by a 
correspondent of the Jewish World: — 
'There is no such thing as an English 
Jew, just as there is no such thing as a 
German Chinaman.' Such a statement 
is commendably frank and honest ; and it 
is certainly hard to see how a Zionist can 
at once burn with enthusiasm for the 
National Idea of Israel, and at the same 
time profess himself to be heart and soul 
an Englishman. In fact, the position of 
those who do so seems to be barely 
respectable, and it is not improved by 

112 The Jew in London 

their attempts to justify it, which commonly 
consist in the quaintly sophistical plea 
that devotion to two countries is as easy 
a matter as devotion to two parents ; they 
have a father-land and a mother-land, and 
their patriotic ardour is divided impartially 
between the two. Such an argument can 
hardly be very convincing even to those 
who employ it ; and there is something 
questionably ambiguous in their whole 
position. To put the case quite baldly, it 
would appear that they are anxious to 
share the status, the goodwill, and the 
privileges of English citizenship, but at 
the same time steadily refuse to throw in 
their lot for good and all with the English 
nation. They wish, in fact, to stake out 
a claim in the Promised Land without 
renouncing the flesh-pots of Egypt. It is 
an attitude of which the motive is more 
intelligible than the logic, but it is hardly 
an attitude which can be permanently 

The Religious Question 113 

To discuss the probable future of Zionism 
•would take us too far afield, but it is worth 
while to emphasise one or two points in 
which it illustrates the main contention 
of this essay. English Zionism is at 
bottom a religious rather than a political a Protest 


movement, and appears to be mainly the 4'^™''^" 
outcome of a conviction that, in the long 
run, ' Anglicisation ' is not compatible with 
the preservation of Judaism. The Religious 
Idea and the National Idea, it is said, are 
one and inseparable, as the body and soul 
of Judaism, and the one can only be main- 
' tained by a revival of the other. Zionism 
is offered as the sole alternative to complete 
absorption. And it is remarkable that 
this line of argument seems never to have 
been fairly met by the Anti- Zionists. The 
movement has been abundantly denounced 
'on prophetical, political and financial 
grounds.' It has been decried as im- 
practicable and as alien to the true 
' mission of Israel.' But this particular 


1 14 The Jew in London 

argument, either because it is unanswer- 
able or for some other reason, appears 
to have been passed over in silence. 

To show that the above account is not 
a mere caricature of the position taken up 
by the representatives of Zionism and 
orthodoxy, it is worth while to quote at 
length the following striking paragraph 
from the leading article in a recent number 
of the Jewish World. The article is one 
dealing with some remarks made by Mr B. 
L. Cohen, until lately President of the Board 
of Guardians, deploring the present apathy 
in communal affairs, and the insufficient 
support given to communal institutions : — 
The 'The effects proceed from a cause, and 

fForid on haviog expressed the full measure of our 


tion sympathy with Mr Benjamin Cohen, let us 

look for a moment to the cause that has 
made his grievance possible. Who dares 
deny that we owe the present condition of 
affairs to the spirit of Anglicisation run wild ? 
The present generation of Jews of the upper 

The Religious Question 115 

middle class has been brought up 
" Anglicised," i.e., has been trained directly 
or indirectly to sever itself from the rites 
and customs of orthodox Judaism. Know- 
ing little or nothing of Hebrew, it finds 
our services dull, having little reverence for 
old-time customs, the attractions of the 
synagogue no longer attract, and cultured 
Hedonism marks all too many of the 
younger generation. Sometimes we see 
the Hedonism without the culture. The 
generation has lost its Judaism and con 
sequently has nothing for the development 
of its ideals and sense of duty. We would 
not for a moment believe that the ardent 
advocates of superficial " Anglicisation " at 
any cost ever reckoned what the disastrous 
result of their work would be. They did 
not realise that it would scatter the very 
flower of Jewry, dispel its faith and leave 
it helpless to save or be saved. They did 
not realise that the immediate effect would 
be seen in the community, that because the 

1 1 6 The Jew in London 

fathers had eaten sour grapes, the children's 
teeth would be set on edge. Even now 
though we hear lamentations and regrets, 
though the community stands publicly re- 
buked, there is little or no endeavour to 
grapple with the real problems, the problems 
whose solution will make or mar the whole 
English-Jewish community within the next 
generation.' * 
Testimony Zionism appears so far to corroborate the 

to the 

Strength of testimonv to the decay of orthodoxy which 

Assimila- ' ' ' 

tive Forces ^^g fumlshed by the Mahazike Haddath. 
Both are witnesses crying out against the 
de-Judaising influence of English life ; and 
if they are right, the comparative weakness 
of the Zionist movement in England, and 
its^j^almost exclusively foreign character show 
that the danger to Judaism is a very 
serious one. The apathy and aloofness of 
the'^ great body of English Jews is a sign 
that they have lost both national and 
religious enthusiasm. In a word, they 

* Jewish World, October 14, 1898, p. 41 

The Religious Question 117 

have become Englishmen at the cost of 
their Judaism. 

It may be, of course, that the Zionists and its vaiue 
the ' Supporters of the Law ' are wholly 
mistaken. Zionism, after all, has more the 
character of an enthusiasm than of a 
reasoned policy ; and the ultra-orthodox party 
are too narrow and fanatical in their views 
to be credited with a very large outlook 
upon the future. Their hostility towards 
their Anglicised brethren may be grounded 
on mere prejudice ; and the religion of 
which they are so jealous perhaps consists 
in little more than a superstitious adherence 
to old forms. But it must be remembered 
that it is the ceremonial element in Judaism 
which has for centuries been the principal 
barrier between Jew and Gentile, and has 
thus maintained the Jewish race and re- 
ligion in something like its original purity. 
And although it is common to hear English 
Jews distinguishing between the ' essence ' 
and the forms of Judaism, the attempt to 

1 1 8 The Jew in London 

sever them is perhaps Hkely to prove a 
perilous experiment. The policy of preserv- 
ing the spirit and abrogating the letter has 
been criticised as an attempt to break the 
vessel without spilling the wine ; and it 
certainly appears that a Judaism shorn of 
all ceremonial adjuncts would have a poor 
chance of survival. Yet an increasing 
neglect of observances seems everywhere 
to accompany the process of Anglicisation ; 
and it cannot be said that there are signs of 
any spiritual awakening sufficient to coun- 
teract the destructive influences which are 
at work. 
Other Allowing then that the apprehensions of 

Indications , „. , 

the Zionists and the ultra-orthodox are not 
to be dismissed as groundless, it is worth 
while to consider some of the more specific 
indications of the process on which these 
apprehensions are based. One of the points 
which first presents itself is the increasing 
Sabbath- laxity in the observance of the Sabbath, 


The religious question is here complicated 

The Religious Question 119 

by industrial conditions which have made 
observance of the Law a matter of peculiar 
difficulty. Thus the dispersion of Jews into 
a number of non-Jewish trades, which is a 
main feature in the policy of the Board of 
Guardians and Russo- Jewish Committee, is 
obviously a process which must lead almost 
directly to Sabbath-breaking. Even though 
Sabbath-observance is made a condition of 
apprenticeship, it is none the less likely to 
prove a stumbling-block after the term of 
apprenticeship has expired. But even in 
the most Jewish of trades, such as tailoring 
and bootmaking, the fact that the press of 
work generally comes on at the end of the 
week is a temptation to Sabbath-breaking, 
which seems to have proved too strong for 
many Jewish employers. And even when 
there is no actual work done, the Law is 
often violated by the payment of wages 
on Saturday. No doubt so far as this 
laxity has arisen from industrial conditions, 
it was originally more or less compulsory ; 

I20 The Jew in London 

but naturally it has had a demoralising- 
effect, and wilful Sabbath-breaking is un- 
doubtedly on the increase. Thus in White- 
chapel Road there is a small music-hall * 
called ' Wonderland,' which is mainly pat- 
ronised by foreign Jews and supports a 
company of Yiddish actors ; and perform- 
ances are given on Monday, Friday and 
Saturday nights and on Saturday afternoon. 
Similarly in the Standard Theatre, Shore- 
ditch, Saturday afternoon is commonly 
selected for the performance of a Yiddish 
play — presumably as being the date likeliest 
to attract a Jewish audience. An amusing 
illustration of the neglect into which the 
Sabbath sometimes falls is given by the 
following story (told in the columns of 
Young Israel by the Rev. Harris Cohen), 
' The disregard of the Sabbath in some 
homes was never more painfully illustrated 
than in a reply I received from a child in 

* Since this was written 'Wonderland ' has been deprived of its 
licence, by order of the London County Council. 

The Religious Question 121 

an infant school. "Who can tell me why 
God rested on the seventh day ? " I asked. 
For a little while there was perfect silence 
in the room, but soon there came the 
answer, "'Cos it was Sunday."'* 

Special emphasis ought to be given to 
this particular form of laxity, because 
Sabbath - observance is a central feature 
in Jewish religion, and its neglect is apt 
to involve the neglect of much else along 
with it. It is written in the Talmud that 
'if a man breaks the Sabbath it is as if 
he broke- the whole Law ' ; and though it 
may be questioned how seriously this is 
meant to be taken, there is a sense in 
which its truth seems to be borne out by 
the practical consequences of Sabbath- 
breaking. The following extract from an The cwef 


official circular issued by the Chief Rabbi circular 
on the subject is evidence of the extent 
and seriousness of this form of back- 
sliding : — 

* Young Israel, April, 1 898, p. 29. 

122 The Jew in London 

' We cannot but be profoundly pained 
by the knowledge that the Divinely in- 
stituted Sabbath is no longer viewed by 
all Members of the House of Israel with 
the olden awe and the olden reverence. 

' I believe that this disregard is due not 
so much to a relaxation of religious senti- 
ment as to the fierce struggle for existence 
which now prevails, and the keen competition 
that pervades every walk of life. 

' But the fact cannot be gainsaid that 
neglect of the Sabbath with its sweet calm 
and peace, and the incentive it gives to 
attendance at Divine worship, is calculated 
to lead to entire estrangement from Judaism, 
and is, therefore, fraught with the gravest 
spiritual peril both to us and to our 
children. ' 
Synagogue- The proportion of regular attendants at 


synagogue would afford further indication 
of the extent to which the East End Jewry 
is lapsing from orthodoxy ; but it is not 
easy to give any trustworthy estimate. 

The Religious Question 123 

That the number of habitual absentees, 
however, is considerable, is shown by the 
insufficiency of accommodation on the one 
occasion in the year on which all Jews 
flock to the synagogue. This is the Day of 
Atonement, the great fast-day of the Jewish 
calendar. Not only are all synagogues, 
most of which have been very sparsely 
attended throughout the year, filled to over- 
flowing ; but theatres, schoolrooms and 
public halls are transformed for the occasion 
into impromptu places of worship. Thus 
on the last Day of Atonement it has been 
estimated that 4000 Jews attended service 
at the Paragon Theatre, 3000 at the Jews' 
Free School, 3000 at Shoreditch Town Hall, 
1700 at Beaumont Hall ; and an immense 
number of smaller rooms and halls were 
lent or hired for the occasion. There is, in 
fact, a whole class, upon whom the nick- The 'Yom 


name of 'Yom Kippur Jews' has been jews' 
bestowed, where observance of the Day of 
Atonement is the sole remaining link with 

124 The Jew in London 

the synagogue. It is true, of course, that 
the persistence of this one observance 
testifies almost as strongly to the strength 
of Judaism, as the number of those whose 
whole religion it constitutes testifies to its 
weakness. But as one of the preachers on 
last ' Yom Kippur ' insisted ' there is no 
denying the fact that they (the " Yom Kippur 
Jews ") have narrowed down to a terribly 
dangerous limit, that which ought to animate 
the whole of a man's life.'* 

Such inferences, however, as can be 
drawn from the decrease of synagogue- 
attendance and the increase of Sabbath- 
breaking apply indiscriminately to the whole 
East End community. There is no doubt 
that it is mainly the English or Anglicised 
Jews who set the fashion of non-observance ; 
but, though public opinion is unanimous on 
this point, it is less easy to find any definite 
test by which the effect of Anglicisation 

* The Rev. A. A. Green (in a sermon preached at Hampstead), 
V. Jewish Chronicle, September 30, 1898. 

The Religious Question 125 

in this direction may be measured. A fair Hebrew 


indication, however, is afforded by the 
amount of Hebrew education which is 
deemed necessary for their children by 
English as compared with foreign parents. 
The ckeder, or private Hebrew school, is 
practically a foreign institution. The Hebrew The 


teaching given at elementary schools and 
in synagogue classes, which is sufficient for 
the English Jew, is, in the eyes of the 
foreigners, shamefully inadequate, and they 
have imported the cheder from Poland to 
supply the deficiency. The cheder has 
already been discussed from the educational 
point of view (z/. sup.) ; and here it need 
only be taken as an illustration of the 
difference in the standard of religious educa- 
tion as recognised by English and Polish 
Jews. Some figures obtained at the Stepney 
Jewish schools, where a considerable majority 
of the children are of English parentage, 
will be enough to show the foreign character 
of the chedarim. Eight classes were visited, 

126 The Jew in London 

and in these there were seventy-three boys 
altogether who attended cheder, or other- 
wise received extra teaching in Hebrew ; 
and out of these only seven were the 
children of English parents. And when it 
is remembered that this extra teaching 
frequently entails a great sacrifice upon the 
poorer foreigners, whereas the English Jews, 
being for the most part comparatively 
prosperous, could easily afford to pay for 
it, it is obvious that the difference of re- 
ligious feeling which such figures indicate 
must be very considerable. That the 
patrons of the cheder are fully conscious 
of this was emphatically shown by the 
character of their response to the criticism 
offered by the Educational Conference, It 
is true that, judging from the character of 
the rising generation, the cheder does not 
seem to be as powerful a bulwark of ortho- 
doxy as its defenders would fain believe. 
Still it is an institution that bears witness 
to the strength of the religious spirit which 

The Religious Question 127 

animates those parents and others by whose 
contributions it is supported. 

Apart from the general influence of English 
education and an English environment, there 
are one or two minor influences which are 
just worth taking into account. Among Socialism 

as a 

them Socialism deserves to be briefly noticed Disruptive 

^ Force 

as one of the disruptive forces with which 
East End Judaism has to reckon. Jewish 
Socialists are for the most part Freethinkers ; 
and as the leaders of Jewish Socialism have 
generally been also the pioneers of trade- 
unionism, they have obtained a certain 
amount of influence over a fairly large section 
of the Jewish workmen. Still the spread 
of Socialism among the foreign community 
does not seem to have been considerable. 
The Jew is an individualist by nature ; and 
though he is enough of a dreamer to be 
attracted by almost any remote ideal, there 
seems to be peculiarly little in the programme 
and promised Utopia of Socialism that is 
really congenial to him. Even those who 

128 The Jew in London 

have been Socialists in Russia do not seem 
to find much that is to their taste in the 
Socialism of English workmen ; it is not 
flamboyant or revolutionary enough to kindle 
their enthusiasm. Moreover, in Jewish 
circles, it is the correct thing to disapprove 
of Socialism ; it is vaguely associated with 
Atheism, and the word ' Socialist ' is perhaps 
most commonly employed as a term of 
Conver- Socialism therefore need not be con- 


Societies sidered a very formidable antagonist to 
the Jewish religion ; and the same may be 
said with more emphasis of the Christian 
conversionist societies. It is questionable, 
in fact, whether they would not be more 
truly described as disguised allies. They 
are certainly at the root of a good deal 
of suspicious and hostile feeling towards 
Christianity ; and so far go to strengthen 
the jealous watch which the Jew keeps 

A Prop to over his religious birthright. Nothing 

Judaism ? 

could be much better calculated to keep 

The Religious Question 129 

the great body of Jews united and the spirit 
of Judaism alive than the constant presence 
of a common Qnemy. On the whole, then, 
it is perhaps fortunate that the uniform 
unsuccess of these missions causes them 
to be viewed with contempt rather than 
with alarm or active hostility. The number 
of conversions is so few, and the genuine- 
ness of most of them so questionable, that 
the conversionist movement is not regarded 
in the light of a serious menace to Judaism. 
The Jew who loses his own religion does 
not commonly become a Christian, but 
remains (as Sheridan put it) ' like the blank 
leaf between the Old and New Testament.' 
Of those who actually do embrace Christi- 
anity, at least a large proportion appear 
to be 'professional converts,' to whom their 
new faith appeals solely as the avenue to 
a lucrative calling. It is fair, however, 
to say that most of the missions seem to 
aim less than formerly at securing a record 
of baptisms, and more at merely spreading 

130 The Jew in London 

a knowledge of New Testament history 
and teaching ; and in this way a certain 
amount of useful educational work may 
be accomplished. But it is to be feared 
that their total effect is mischievous rather 
than beneficent. It is an ungrateful business 
to find fault with those who support or 
carry on the work of these institutions \ 
and their motives are, no doubt, in many 
cases entitled to respect. But it is neces- 
sary to protest against the expenditure of 
such enormous sums of money upon work 
that is, from every point of view, unprofit- 
able. The ' London Society for Promoting 
Christianity Among the Jews ' has an income 
of about ;^40,ooo a year ; and a perusal 
of the Society's own reports is enough to 
convince most people of the wastefulness 
of such undertakings. One of the boasts 
of the Society is that 'nearly five million 
missionary publications have been placed 
in the hands of Jews ' ; and the same 
Society ' claims to have been the first to 

The Religious Question 131 

establish English medical missions in the 
world.' * The account g-iven of the working- 
of the medical missions is instructive. The 
proceedings begin with ' a short evangelistic 
service ' in jargon, before the doctor arrives ; 
while the applicants wait their turn to see 
bim, ' the missionaries talk with them in- 
dividually,' and 'as each comes from the 
doctor he gives his name and address 
to another missionary in a private room, 
who then has a splendid opportunity of 
pressing home the Gospel as he talks with 
him alone.' t There may be a standpoint 
from which such tactics appear justifiable ; 
but, to say the least, they seem to be 
scarcely worthy of the cause which they 
are intended to serve. On the Jewish 
side, a work which is carried on by such 
methods is more calculated to create than 
to remove prejudices, and is not likely 

* Missions to the Jews. A handbook of reasons, facts and figures. 
By the Rev. W. T. Gidney, M.A., p. 58. 

+ Jewish Mission Work in London, or the Metropolitan Mission 
of the London Society for promoting Christianity among the 
Jews, p. 15. 

132 The Jew in London 

to convey a very desirable impression of 
the dignity of the Christian Church. There 
is, in fact, little doubt that if the total effect 
of these institutions is taken into account 
they must be put down among the obstacles 
to fusion. 

There are, of course, a number of retard- 
ing influences which offer an amount of 
resistance that it would be easy to under- 
estimate. Judaism is much more than a 

The -' 

^'^mL ceremonial religion ; and its complex and 
oMuTaism many-sided character give it a remarkable 
strength and vitality. Those who have 
given up all observances rarely abandon its 
monotheistic basis ; and though it is of 
course impossible to say how much vital 
faith is generally left in such a creed, it 
suffices to justify them in a nominal ad- 
herence to Judaism. But even those who 
are wholly and frankly irreligious cannot 
generally quite shake off their Jewishness ; 
Religion a^j^(j g^ racial instinct — a sense of tribal 
exclusiveness — often seems to survive even 

The Religious Question 133 

when nothing is left that could be called 
religion. In the rooted objection to inter- 
marriage which is common among all 
classes of Jews, there seems to be a racial 
as well as a religious element ; and no 
doubt it is a repugnance which can only 
be eradicated in the course of generations. 
Assimilation will not be complete until 
intermarriage becomes common ; but if the 
assimilative forces are on the whole as 
preponderant as they seem, the objection 
to mixed marriages, which is at present un- 
doubtedly strong, can hardly be more than 
a phase in the transition which is taking 
place. As social intercourse increases, and 
religious prohibitions lose their authority, the 
policy of continued isolation must become 
increasingly difficult. The remnant of re- 
ligious and racial sentiment which survives 


the decay of orthodoxy is in itself a vague 
and perishable thing, and could hardly out- 
last for many generations the system of forms 
and ceremonies in which it has hitherto 

134 The Jew in London 

been embodied. Shape, solidity and per- 
manence can hardly be assured to it except 
through ordinances and institutions ; and if 
these break down it must give way in time 
before the slow encroachment of alien habits 
and ideas. And it seems almost certain 
that they are gradually losing their hold 
upon the great mass of Jews. 
Strength of There is one feature, however, which 

Judaism on 

Financial ^^^ strongly iu favour of Jewish communal 
^"'^ institutions.. They are for the most part 
excellently managed ; and on the financial 
side their affairs are admirably regulated. 
The prominence, indeed, of financial topics 
at committee meetings has given rise to a 
good deal of sarcastic comment in the 
Jewish press and elsewhere. One of the 
characters in Mr Zangwill's Children of 
the Ghetto describes the State Church of 
the Jews as 'simply a financial system to 
which the doctrines of Judaism happened 
to be tacked on,' and goes on to prophesy 
that 'long after Judaism has ceased to exist 

The Religious Question 135 

excellent gentlemen will be found regulating 
its finances.'* It is a feature which has its 
humorous side ; but none the less it is a 
decided element of strength, and can hardly 
be dismissed as unimportant. Even here, 
however, the state of things seems recently 
to have been growing less satisfactory. 
Complaints are not uncommon that the whole 
management of communal affairs is passing 
into too few hands, and that the younger 
generation are not coming forward to take 
up their share of the burden. The ex- 
President of the Board of Guardians, in a 
speech which has already been referred to, 
recently spoke in strong terms of the 
gloomy prospects of the Board owing to 
the decrease at once of workers and of 
contributions ; and the Jewish World, it 
will be remembered, put down this state of 
affairs to 'the spirit of Anglicisation run 
wild.' Whatever may be its exact cause, 
such a grievance- must certainly be regarded 
* p. 242. 

136 The Jew in London 

as a symptom of decreasing life and 
solidarity in the Anglo-Jewish community ; 
and it is at least possible that it may be con- 
nected with the decay of orthodox belief. 
Final Con- It is easy, no doubt, to underestimate 

siderations 1 r /- 1 • 1 • 1 

the Strength of many of the ties which 
bind even the least orthodox of Jews to 
their race and religion. And no doubt 
one who approaches the question from the 
outside is a poor judge of the force and 
vitality which may still inhere in senti- 
ments and associations that do not lie 
upon the surface. Butj allowing for this, 
it is difficult to imagine that there can 
be sufficient power in them to form a 
lasting barrier. It is a case undoubtedly 
in which there are strong factors on the 
side of conservatism ; but on the whole 
the array of social forces which are working 
towards a change seems to be immensely 
preponderant. And there are certainly 
abundant indications of the direction in 
which this change is likely to take place. 


The attempt which has been made in Practical 


the foregoing chapters to deal with soof'^^ 


large and difficult a question as Jewish q^^^jj^^ 
assimilation can perhaps only be justified 
by the pressing importance of the problem. 
The answer to it must largely determine 
our attitude towards the Jewish community 
which lives among us ; for until it has 
been answered, it is impossible to say 
whether this Jewish element is likely in 
the long run to prove an advantage or 
a burden to the country. If the Jews 
are always to remain separate they are 
likely also to remain a constant source of 
disquietude and offence. But if, as has 
been contended, they are on the way to 
complete (or virtually complete) absorption 
in the national life, the verdict must un- 


138 The Jew in London 

doubtedly be a strong one in their favour. 
Whatever may be thought of the Jewish 
character in itself, there is no doubt that 
an infusion of Jewish blood would intro- 
duce an admirable strain into the breed of 

The conclusion which has been forced 
upon us is that, on the whole, the present 
tendency is strongly in the direction of 
absorption. There are a variety of ex- 
pansive forces from within the Jewish 
community, and of assimilative forces from 
without, which all seem to be working 
Cautions— towards the same end. At the same time, 

I. Incon- . . 

ciusiveness It IS a subject upou which one must be- 

of Many 

Local Con- ware of crude and hasty inferences. In 


confining our attention to the East End 
of London, we have only explored a 
corner of a large question ; and the total 
Jewish problem is one that cannot satis- 
factorily be treated piecemeal. The White- 
chapel Jewry, however, has some instructive 
features, and the transformation which is 

Conclusion 139 

taking place in it is perhaps typical of a 
wider process which is taking place in 
many quarters of the world.* It exempli- 
fies the immense difference between the 
Jew of the Ghetto and the emancipated 
Jew, and at the same time shows the 
effect of contact between the two types 
under conditions of freedom. The newly- 
arrived Russo-Jewish immigrant is, in all 
essentials, a mediseval product, and his 
children grow up into something like the 
type of modern Englishmen. The evolu- The 


tion which the older Anglo-Jewish families chapei 


have accomplished by the growth and effort 
of hundreds of years, is in Whitechapel 
being compressed into a single generation. 
And it appears that such a sudden and 
radical metamorphosis, with its accompany- 
ing breakdown of old habits and traditions, 
is likely enough to have more far-reaching 

' ^. Le Roy Beaulieu. Israel among the Nations, ^.■s!a. Liberal 
treatment of the Jews, however, which appears to be one of the main 
factors in ' assimilating ' them, seems at the present moment to be 
-almost confined to England. 

140 The Jew in London 

consequences than any that have yet 
manifested themselves. 
2. A A second and equally necessary caution 


of Degree jg x.0 avoid being led astray by phrases. 
The word ' assimilation ' is apt to convey 
too hard-and-fast a meaning ; and it would 
of course be absurd to prophesy anything 
like the complete extinction of the Jewish 
race. ' Assimilation ' is, in fact, largely a 
matter of degree ; it is a process which has 
been operating in a greater or less degree 
through the whole of Jewish history. And 
the question before us is mainly how far 
this process seems likely in the future to 
expand or contract its sphere of operation. 

Summary. It has been seen that the social isola- 
tion which preserves the Yiddish-speaking 
community from all the contaminating 
influences of intercourse with Gentiles is 
no longer maintained in the case of the 
English - born generation. The English 
training, and the inculcation of English 
habits and ideas, goes far towards robbing 


Conclusion 141 

them of their Jewishness. They consider 
themselves Englishmen, and do not ap- 
parently attach any very great sanctity or 
importance to the racial and religious ties 
which bind them to their fellow-Jews who. 
have immigrated from foreign lands. And 
the reality of this change is at once 
-attested and emphasised by the cordial 
feelings with which English Jews are 
commonly regarded even by the most 
bitterly anti-foreign among the East End 
Gentiles. The barrier of social prejudice, 
in fact, may be said to have broken down. 

Similarly the economic grievance against z.Ecoaomic 
Jewish labour was found to be on the whole 
unjustified, and unlikely to become a source 
of permanent estrangement or antagonism. 
The Jewish workman has both good and 
bad qualities, and in certain respects his 
influence upon the standard of industry has 
been the reverse of beneficial ; but it has 
<;ertainly not been proyed against him that 
(to any appreciable extent) he really takes 

142 The Jew in London 

the bread out of English mouths. In 
workshops, indeed, there appears to be little 
mixture of foreign Jews with Englishmen ; 
but even here, with the decrease of Sabbath 
observance, which is a main cause of this 
industrial feeparateness, the obstacles to 
fusion are losing their power. 
3. Religious Obviously, however, it is upon religion 
that the whole matter ultimately hangs. 
'What is Jewish separatenes,' asks Mr O. 
J. Simon, 'when the Jewish religion has 
ceased to operate ? It is nothing but a 
short-lived relic' * And it is here that we 
have the most striking evidence of the 
process of transformation which is taking 
place. On such a subject it would doubt- 
less be unwise to base any very trenchant 
conclusions on as superficial a study as has 
here been made ; but, so far as we have 
seen, all the facts seem to point in the same 
direction. The English and the Polish Jew 
are a bye-word and an astonishment to one 

* Fortnightly Review, 1896, p. 579. 

Conclusion 143 

another for laxity and superstition respec- 
tively. It is almost evident that the old 
Judaism of the Ghetto cannot survive in 
anything like its original shape ; in England 
the ' hardshell ' Jew — the ' Oriental Israelite 
Hebrew Jew ' — of the traditional pattern 
is a dying type. The process of assimila- 
tion, in fact, has set in, and there is no 
apparent reason why it should stop at any 
particular point. To drop any fraction of 
the organised system of beliefs and observ- 
ances which make up Judaism is to be 
on the way to losing the whole. And 
throughout the Jewish community this 
tendency seems to be very generally re- 
cognised. On the one side the Zionists and 
the Mahazike Haddatk are hostile witnesses 
to its strength ; while on the other side 
there is a small but highly-intelligent party 
which even hails the prospect of assimilation 
with approval. 

The present state of things, from a 
Jewish standpoint, is obviously unsatis- 

1 44 The Jew in London 

factory. It is beginning to be realised that 
communal affairs are getting into a parlous 
state, and it can hardly be disguised that 
religious orthodoxy is steadily losing its 
hold upon the community. ' Manifold are 
the perils which beset Judaism,' was the 
burden of a sermon recently delivered by 
the Chief Rabbi,* while, in the Fortnightly 
Review, we find one of the descendants 
of Aaron proclaiming that ' Among the 
many gross mistakes current about the 
Jews, none is so great as the belief that 
they are a religious people.' t It is easy 
no doubt to over-emphasise such utterances, 
but quotations to the same effect could be 
multiplied, and taken in connection with 
other facts, they certainly seem significant 
of the times. 
A Practical pQr the Tewish community, of course, the 

Question ■' ^ ' 

jTw]"^ whole question is one of practical politics, but 
unfortunately one of the ' communal defects ' 

* Jewish Chronicle, Oct. 14, 1898, p. 21. 

t Fortnightly Review, 1896, p 624., Herman Cohen. 

Conclusion 145 

most commonly deplored is the lack of 
statesmanship in such matters. Doubtless 
the number of discordant factions in the 
community would make it almost impossible 
to frame a policy which would be generally 
acceptable, but in many quarters there seems 
to be a general unwillingness to face the 
real issues and grapple squarely with the 
facts of the situation. And although there 
is a general sense of instability and dis- 
satisfaction with the present state of things, 
it cannot be said that there is much life or 
urgency in the demand for change. The 
condition of Judaism, as seen from the 
standpoint of the average English Jew, 
might perhaps be summed up in Dogberry's 
words as ' very tolerable, and not to be 
endured.' The feeling seems to be mainly 
one of stolid and resigned dissatisfaction. 
Apart from the Zionists, the Mahasike ^i^ii 


Haddath and the Reformed Congregation, grammes 
there is no suggestion of a remedy. Of 
these parties, the two first are practically 


146 The Jew in London 

confined to the foreign part of the com- 
munity, while the Reformers are neither 
very numerous nor very enthusiastic. They 
offer, indeed, a more or less progressive 
policy, and would adapt Judaism to the 
changed conditions of the time, but it is 
shrewdly suspected that ' Reform ' would 
only open the door to assimilation, and 
that this would mean the ultimate death 
and burial of Judaism. Yet there is only 
the choice of going forward or backward. 
Judaism may either shake off all its tribal 
features, and emerge purely as a religion, 
or it may creep back into the shell of 
nationalism and establish itself in Zion or 
elsewhere as the nucleus of a state. 
Reform or Reform and Zionism are the broad alter- 


natives. But to the majority of English 
Jews neither course seems to recommend 
itself; the one is shunned as dangerous 
and the other as retrogressive. And while 
concerned to retain their Jewishness, they 
are also, for the most part, keenly alive 

Conclusion 147 

to the necessity of proving their patriotism 
and conciliating Gentile opinion. Hence 
one occasionally comes across what Dr 
Herzl caustically describes as ' the efforts 
of amphibious - minded men to combine 
ancient tradition with an exaggerated imi- 
tation of national customs.'* One of the Policy of 


main results of this state of things is a 
general reluctance to taking up a decided 
attitude upon any question. The com- 
munity, as a whole, is thus without a 
policy, and so far at the mercy of external 
forces ; and the drift of circumstances ap- 
pears to set strongly in one direction. 

It is easy to understand the antipathy 
which the great body of Jews naturally 
feel towards the prospect of assimilation. 
They have too much pride of race to 
relish the idea of complete absorption. 
But (at least from the Gentile standpoint) The 'Be 


it is no less hard to see the justification Question 
than the practicability of a policy of con- 

" Contemporary Review, 1897, p. 588. 

148 The Jew in London 

tinued separatism. There is doubtless a 
loss in every departure from historic 
traditions ; but if these traditions have out- 
lived their value and purpose, or even 
acquired a mischievous tendency, the loss 
may be more than counterbalanced. It is 
pitiful also, no doubt, to witness the 
decay of a religion which has gone far in 
many lives to transfigure, or at least to 
render tolerable, the harsh conditions of 
slum-life ; but in another aspect there is 
to be taken into account (if I may borrow 
the words of a recent contributor to Young 
Israel) 'the legacy of bigotry and super- 
stition of the narrow-souled denizens of 
dark and noisome Ghettos.'* And, on the 
whole, if the gains and losses of assimila- 
tion could be reckoned against one another, 
there seems little doubt on which side the 
balance would be found. 

* Young Israel, August 1898, p. 52. 


Anything like a trustworthy estimate of the 
Jewish population of London seems to be im- 
possible. The materials which are available are 
of such dubious value that no calculation based 
on them can have much claim to be considered 
accurate. The census returns are almost useless,. 
as they do not take account of religious distinc- 
tions; and any calculation based on the official 
records of deaths and marriages is made uncertain 
by the presence and constant influx of a large 
immigrant element which throws out the ordinary 
proportions between old and young. For a review 
and criticism of the various methods of making 
an estimate, the reader must be referred to Mr 
Llewellyn Smith's treatment of the subject in 
Life and Labour of the London People (Vol. III., 
p. 103). No elaborate calculations are here 
attempted, and the result, roughly indicated, may 
be taken for what it is worth. 


150 The Jew in London 

There are three various sets of statistics on 
which estimates may be based : — viz. (i) Marriages ; 
(2) Deaths ; (3) Children at elementary schools. 

The following figures are quoted as abridged 
from the Jewish Year Book: — 

























































1, 06 1 

















































Appendix A 



1894. East End 

Other parts of London 

Total . 

1897. East End 

Other parts of London 

Total . 

1898. East End 

Other parts of London 

Total . 



Born in England 

Abroad, Foreign Native 
Parents. Parents. 

14.592 4,528 7,141 2,923 
1,372 271 718 383 

15,964 4,799 7,859 3,306 

16,849 4,938 8,295 3,516 
1,589 281 922 386 

18,438 5,219 9,217 3,902 

17,954 5,171 9,125 3,658 
1,488 291 821 376 

19,442 5,462 9,946 4,034 

With these figures may be compared the follow- 
ing, which, however, were collected unofficially 
and are less exhaustive {v. Joseph Jacobs — 
Statistics of Jewish Population in London, etc. — 

i833t 1886. 

East End 

Other parts of London 






From these various starting-points (with the 
help of dubious assumptions) the following results 
may be worked out, taking the 1898 figures: — 

(i.) The marriage returns (assuming that the 

152 The Jew in London 

London marriage-rate for 1896 (of 18 persons 
married per 1000) is a near enough approxima- 
tion) give a population of about 104,000. 

(2.) The burial returns (taking the London death- 
rate of 18.2) give 99,120. 

(3.) The school children figures (following Mr 
Llewellyn Smith's method of multiplying by 6) 
give 116,600. It seems probable that this is, on 
the whole, a rather nearer approximation than 
that given by either of the other methods. The 
influx of adults probably has the effect of depress- 
ing both the marriage * and death-rate ; and in 
the latter case, while allowing for their congestion 
in the East End of London, something also must 
be allowed for the superior longevity of the Jewish 
race. On the other hand, though the school-period 
of Jewish children may possibly be rather shorter 
than the average, the larger size of Jewish families^ 
and the comparative rarity of unmarried Jews and 
Jewesses, make it probable that the figures arrived 
at by the third method are excessive. On the 
whole it may be conjectured — not very hazard- 
ously — that the total Jewish population of London 
is- something between 105,000 and 115,000. 

The third method would further give a Jewish 

population of 107,700 to the East End ; but this 

* Out of 28 1 1 inmates of the Poor Jews' Temporary Shelter in 
1896-97, 1446, or more than half, were married. As, however, a 
large proportion of the unmarried remnant would be of marriageable 
age, the effect upon the marriage-rate is very open to question. 

Appendix A 153 

is certainly a larger proportion than is just. The 
list of schools given in the Jewish Year Book is 
obviously less complete for other districts than for 
the East End. 

It is worth while to compare the above figures 
with the results of previous inquiries, though these, 
of course, are of very diverse value {v. Life and 
Labour of the London People, Vol. III., p. 104), 
viz. : — 


-27,(XX3 (^Jewish Chronicle). 

1864. — 18,000 {London Labour and the London Poor). 
1S71. — 35,000 (calculated from burial returns). 
1883. — 46,000 {Jewish Chronicle). 
1885. — 45,000 (Mr Lionel Alexander). 
1888. — ' Over 60,000, and possibly as many as 70,000' (Mr 
Llewellyn Smith). 

1891. — 6ii^2%o {Jewish Year Book). 


another view of the 
By H. S. Lewis, M.A. 

Mr Russell in his able essay has made a 
wide survey of the various aspects of the 
Jewish question. I am in agreement with 
much that he has written, and do not wish 
to cover the same ground again. I think, 
however, that there are some misconceptions 
in his essay which vitiate the general 
conclusion to which his argument is directed. 
I shall endeavour to establish that the 
Jewish race, as a separate entity, has a 
future ; that its mission as such is far from 
completed, and that it can look forward 

156 The Jew in London 

to something better than the painless 
euthanasia to which Mr Russell apparently 
condemns it. 

A personal consideration may be permitted 
at the outset. Mr Russell occupies a position 
of mental detachment to which I cannot 
pretend. The future of Judaism may be 
a theme for curious sociological inquiry to 
the Anglo-Saxon ; to the Jew it is an in- 
tensely practical question. If his race has 
hitherto maintained its separate existence, 
it has been at the cost of constant and 
painful effort. Is this effort to be continued, 
or shall we rather welcome absorption in 
the larger life of the world around us? 
The early associations of a Jew, and his 
pride in a past full of glorious memories, 
strongly induce him to answer this question 
emphatically in the affirmative. At the 
same time it may be fairly argued that 
the mere observer of Jewish life will be 
unable to gauge the strength of feelings 
and attachments which he sees from the 

The Jew in London 157 

outside, and which to the Jew himself are 
bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. 

One fact must be borne in mind when 
we consider the changes produced in the 
Hfe and thought of the Jew as he comes 
under EngHsh influences. The separateness 
of the Jewish race has struck the observer 
in all ages, but their imitativeness has 
always been a no less remarkable feature. 
To show that this is no new thing it is 
only necessary to glance through the pages 
of the Talmud. The Jew, say the Rabbis, 
brought back from Babylon the names of 
the angels and the names of the months.* 
As a matter of fact, the post-exilic angelology 
was mainly an exotic growth. Again, the 
Rabbis praised certain customs of the 
Medes and Persians,t and we find a 
certain 'chief of the exile' who decided a 
civil dispute in accordance with the 
principles of Persian law.;]: The influence 

* Talmud. J. Rosh Hashshanah I. 5. + Berachoth, 8 b. 

X Bava Kama, 58 b. 

158 The Jew in London 

of Greece and Rome on the Rabbis was 
still closer. Not only are many of the 
principles of Talmudic legislation directly 
derived from Roman law, but some of the 
technical terms used are merely transliter- 
ated in Hebrew, without being translated.* 
Indeed, a certain readiness to assimilate 
foreign ideas is a feature found throughout 
Jewish history, and we need not wonder if 
we meet with this phenomenon in our own 
times. Unfortunately the Jew does not 
always adopt those ideas and practices which 
are worthy of imitation. Mr Russell has 
reminded us of that not infrequent type of 
Jew who adopts betting and swearing as 
the hall-marks of English citizenship. The 
Rabbis of old had, in like manner, to re- 
proach those of their brethren who acted 
after the fashion of the Gentiles and always 
chose the worst examples. But the in- 
fluence on the Jews of other races has 
sometimes been an equally strong force 

* For example, iTrodiiK% iiriTpoiros, Karfiyopos. 

The Jew in London 159 

for good. If the modern Jew strives to 
absorb the highest culture of the age, he 
need not necessarily lose hold of his faith. 
The step he is taking is quite analogous 
to that of his mediaeval forbears who 
were foremost in absorbing the teaching 
of Aristotle and his successors, which was 
then the most powerful instrument for the 
progress of human thought. 

To forecast the future is always a 
hazardous undertaking, and it must be a 
matter of conjecture whether the Jews will 
continue to maintain a separate existence. 
Past experience, however, certainly justifies 
us in believing that we shall be able to 
resist assimilation. Even if one admitted 
the accuracy of Mr Russell's survey of 
present conditons, a wider generalisation 
would be required before one predicted 
that the Jewish race had survived nearly 
two thousand years of dispersion only to 
disappear at last. Nor can it be admitted 
that present conditions are essentially 

i6o The Jew in London 

different from those which prevailed in 
former times. Martyrdoms and persecu- 
tions form the most striking chapters in 
the history of Israel, but, after all, they 
have nearly always been exceptional occur- 
rences. The victims of the first Crusade 
recognised this fact and declared that 
God had sent a portion of the chastise- 
ment due for the sins of Israel on their 
generation, because by its constancy and 
steadfastness it was capable of enduring 
so severe a trial. The records of mediaeval 
Jewry are by no means coloured with 
uniform gloom. Not only did the com- 
munity possess a vigorous internal life, 
but the relations between Jew and Gentile 
were at times far from unsatisfactory.* 
There could, of course, be no question 
of political emancipation, but, after all, the 
bulk of the native population were equally 
dependent on their social superiors. Jewish 

* See Israel Abrahams' Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, 
<:h. xxiii. 

The Jew in London i6i 

separation has doubtless been accentuated 
by persecution, but it has not been 
found incompatible with the maintenance 
of friendly relations with the outside 

We must not fail also to do justice to 
the wonderful recuperative powers of 
the Jewish race. Its mere physical power 
of multiplication is, doubtless, a source of 
strength, although it may become, as here 
in London, a source of temporary per- 
plexity, and even of danger. But Judaism 
has also a subtler faculty of recovering 
lost ground. The Jew cannot discard his 
nature and the racial sympathies which 
lie latent in his heart, even when he 
seems hopelessly estranged from his 
religion and his kindred. Even in those 
families where assimilation has gone far 
we find frequent reversions to the hereditary 
type. Israel, say the Rabbis, is like the 
sand of the sea-shore, in which, if a hole 
be dug over night, the space is filled up 


1 62 The Jew in London 

before the morning,* or, to adopt an 
earlier metaphor, our nation is like a tree 
which remains alive although it sheds its 
leaves.t This doctrine of Isaiah as to 
the faithful remnant in whom the true 
life of the nation is in reality embodied, is 
indeed essential to the understanding of 
Jewish history in all ages. 'What is it to 
me that the ten tribes are lost untraceably, 
or that multitudes of the children of Judah 
have mixed themselves with the Gentile 
populations as a river with rivers? Behold 
our people still ! Their skirts spread afar \ 
they are torn, and soiled and trodden on,^ 
but there is a jewelled breastplate.' J 

The whole argument of Mr Russell may 
be summed up conveniently in one 
sentence. He maintains that as the East- 
End Jew becomes an Englishman, he 
ceases to remain a Jew. To test the 
accuracy of this statement it may be well 

* Fesikta (Ed. Buber), ch. ii. -j- Isaiah vi. 13. 

X Daniel Dcronda, ch. xlii. 

The Jew in London 163 

to consider first the characteristics of the 
Jewish workman who has been domiciled 
in England for several generations. 
Numerous examples of this class are to 
be met with in Stepney, in the model 
dwellings between Houndsditch and Com- 
mercial Street, and in some of the streets 
and courts within the same area. The 
typical Jew, of the class we mention, has 
certainly been thoroughly Anglicised, al- 
though he may bear a Dutch name which 
indicates the country from which his 
family came originally. He thoroughly 
identifies himself with England, and takes, 
at any rate at election times, a keen and 
occasionally an intelligent interest in 
politics. If, as is often the case, he is a 
cigar-maker, he probably belongs to the 
Trades' Union, a peculiarly well and 
soberly managed society. On the other 
hand, he continues to regard himself as 
a Jew, although he is not usually very 
observant of the minutiae of his religion, 

164 The Jew in London 

arid only attends synagogue a little more 
regularly than the average Christian 
workman attends church. His attach- 
ment to his race and creed continues, 
however, to be strong, and may, indeed, 
be as real as that of his foreign co- 
religionist, although it is partially con- 
cealed by that acquired quality of British 
stolidity of which Mr Russell speaks. The 
English Jew, it may be added, rarely 
gives encouragement to the efforts of the 
conversionist agencies which are so active 
in East London. Such influence as these 
bodies may obtain is practically limited 
to a section of the foreigners. In social 
morality the English Jew of the working 
classes is in no wise inferior to the 
ordinary Englishman, and I regret that 
Mr Russell should have given currency 
to the vulgar prejudice that Jews are 
commonly disposed to sharp practice and 
unscrupulousness. We have our black 
sheep as have other people, but it is a little 

The Jew in London 165 

hard that we should suffer the discredit of 
all their malpractices. The friendly feeling: 
existing between Jewish and Christian 
working men, to which Mr Russell himself 
testifies, could hardly have grown up in 
the face of earlier prejudices, except as the 
result of favourable experience. 

Of course the English Jew of the 
working-classes has his faults. The most 
prevalent of these is betting and other 
forms of gambling. I shall have occasion 
to recur to this subject when I speak of 
the immigrants, but it must be at once 
admitted that the trading instinct in Jewish 
character is an impelling force towards 
speculation, both as a business and an 
amusement. This feeling is illustrated 
by the extent to which Jews have taken 
up the sale of perishable articles, such as 
fruit and fish, where the opportunities for 
considerable profit are balanced by the 
possibilities of heavy loss. The pro- 
fessional bookmaker, of whom there are 

i66 The Jew in London 

too many specimens in Stepney and Bow, 
brings up his children to his own business 
without any apparent sense of moral 
degradation. The perfectly sober and 
respectable workman will indulge in an 
occasional bet without much scruple, 
although he is seldom so reckless as to 
ruin himself by betting. The English 
Jew frequents the public-house more than 
his foreign co-religionist, but he is very 
rarely a drunkard. Public opinion amongst 
his class condemns this form of in- 

The attitude of the English Jew towards 
Christians is a curious mixture of respect and 
contempt. He is naturally disposed to look 
up to a dominant race, and he desires the 
good opinion of his neighbours. On the other 
hand he still regards the non-Jew ox goyvt'vCa. 
some suspicion, and considers his own people 
superior in acuteness, in family affection and 
in freedom from superstition. He regards 
Christians with perfect good feeling and 

The Jew in London 167 

mingles with them on neutral ground, but 
he seldom enters their homes or invites 
them to his. In short, they are rather his 
acquaintances than his friends. 

Mixed marriages are admittedly rare, and 
I doubt the accuracy of Mr Russell's state- 
ment that they are increasing, at any rate 
amongst the working classes. It is notice- 
able, also, that it is very unusual in East 
London for a Christian to marry a Jewess. 
Marriages between a Jew and a Christian 
woman are not quite so uncommon. Usually 
the wife is nominally converted to Judaism, 
and the children are brought up as Jews. 

The attitude of the English Jew towards 
the foreign Jew is similarly a mixed one. 
On the one hand, the latter is sometimes a 
trade rival, who is suspected to have brought 
down prices and to have taken the bread out of 
the mouth of the native-born workman. The 
foreigner has been also, as we shall see, an 
important factor in raising rents in many 
parts of East London, and his willingness to 

1 68 The Jew in London 

overcrowd is patently injurious to all his 
neighbours. But the English Jew often ex- 
presses himself more strongly on these points 
than he really feels. It is almost proverbial 
that Jews love to criticise their fellows, and 
some of Mr Russell's informants on this point 
have probably availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity to indulge in this pleasure. Practically 
the English and foreign Jew feel themselves 
more in sympathy with each other than with 
the outside world. They are found, to a 
greater extent, in the same workshops, 
notably in various branches of the boot 
trade, and intermarriages between them are 

The English Jew is most anxious to send 
his children to a Jewish school. He prefers 
such a school as the Stepney Jewish, where 
a fee is charged, to the numerous free schools 
in the same neighbourhood. In a large 
majority of instances he does not, like the 
foreigner, give his boys additional instruction 
in Hebrew at the cheder. He does not be- 

The Jew in London 169 

come a paying member of a synagogue 
unless he reaches a certain level of pro- 
sperity, and he attends but rarely, except at 
times of family festivity or sorrow. He is 
particularly regular in his attendance during 
the eleven months of mourning for a deceased 
parent and on the ' Yahrzeit ' or anniversary 
of the death. It must be sorrowfully ad- 
mitted that the religious heads of the 
synagogue have done little to adapt the 
service to his needs. We shall sum up the 
situation by stating that Judaism has not 
weakened its hold on the English Jew of 
East London as a racial bond. As a religion 
it has become weaker and less intelligent, 
because it has cause to need an inspiration 
which has yet to be supplied. 

The foreign Jews are much more difficult 
to appraise correctly ; for one thing, they are 
so numerous that any generalisation will be 
most perilous. Intellectually they are often 
superior not only to native-born workmen, 
but also to many native-born merchants 

170 The Jew in London 

and stockbrokers. Their interests are less 
purely personal ; they mostly have an ac- 
quaintance, however superficial, with some 
of the masterpieces of Rabbinic literature. 
Their morality is a strange mass of con- 
tradictions. They love their children, for 
whose welfare they will make almost any 
sacrifice. Their domesticity is remarkable, 
and they spend their leisure at home. They 
seldom allow their wives to work for them* 
and yet wife-desertion is one of their common 
offences and gives rise to a difficult type of 
case with which the Jewish Board of 
Guardians has constantly to deal. The 
foreign Jew has a greater sense of generosity 
than of justice. The 'greener,' just arrived 
in London with scanty resources, will be 
sure to meet with hospitality from some 
'landsmann.' If a poor family loses all its 
belongings in a fire, some kind friend will 
often make a collection amongst the neigh- 

* This is almost as true of the English Jew, and in strong contrast 
with the numerous cases where Christian women in London go out 
to work after their marriage. 

The Jew in London 171 

bours to supply what has been lost. In 
times of sickness and death one sees most 
touching examples amongst the foreign 
Jews of unselfish help, of sacrifices freely 
given both of time and money. On the 
other hand, we find evil qualities, chiefly, 
no doubt, the result of persecution, but 
none the less unlovely. One is sometimes 
tempted to conclude in despair that the 
bulk of the Polish immigrants have no 
sense of truth whatever. No more painful 
spectacle can be witnessed than the hearing 
of a summons at an East-End police court, 
where the parties concerned are foreign 
Jews. Obvious perjury, on the smallest 
provocation, is committed in case after case. 
The comments of Judge Bacon at the 
Whitechapel County Court on this fact 
have been at times severely criticised by 
the Jewish press. His generalisations may 
have been too sweeping, being based 
on his experience of petty litigation, where 
the seamy side of life is necessarily pro- 

172 The Jew in London 

minent. At the same time, his remarks 
have been based on a substantial sub- 
stratum of truth. It is the experience of 
most visitors amongst the foreign poor for 
charitable societies, that although absolute 
imposture is exceptional, falsehoods with 
regard to the details of cases are constantly 
met with. 

It is to this taint of untruthfulness that 
most of the other defects of the foreign Jews 
are to be traced. I fear that it cannot be 
denied that their standard of business 
morality is often defective. A statement 
of this kind may be regarded as unfair, 
and it is, of course, difficult to put it to 
any exact test. An illustration is, however, 
afforded by the return of convictions, 
periodically issued in the minutes of the 
London County Council, for the use of 
false weights and measures, and kindred 
offences. Judging by the names of the 
offenders, an altogether undue proportion 
of them appear to be foreign Jews. We 

The Jew in London 173 

meet also, in East London, with far too 
many cases where the Bankruptcy laws 
are evaded by persons who pass through 
the courts and reappear in business with 
suspicious celerity and without apparent 

The foreign Jew as landlord is a new and 
unwelcome figure. The Chief Rabbi, in a 
recent sermon, tells the story of an East- End 
Jew who exclaimed to him, 'Thank God I 
live under a Christian landlord.' This state- 
ment illustrates quite fairly the evil reputa- 
tion that Jewish landlords have acquired 
amongst their own co-religionists. The 
condemnation is undoubtedly too sweeping. 
In East London there are good Jewish 
landlords, some of whom are foreigners, 
whose excellent qualities are acknowledged 
by their tenants. But harshness, oppression 
and even fraud are too often associated with 
foreign Jews who have recently invested 
in house property. Considering this ques- 
tion, at the moment, as illustrating the sense 

174 The Jew in London 

of morality of the offenders, it must be noted 
that many of them cannot be considered as 
bad men in the ordinary relations of life, 
whilst, in several notorious instances, they 
make professions, probably not consciously 
insincere, of charitable and religious zeal. 
The root of this inconsistency is the notion, 
too often entertained, that business stands 
apart and is governed by different rules from 
those prevailing in the other relations of life. 
One of my friends asked a landlord how he 
came to oppress one of his tenants, a very 
poor man and a Jew like himself ' When I 
go to synagogue,' was the reply, ' I am a 
Jew ; when I come for my rent I am a goyJ 
This inconsistency is, of cqurse, common 
enough outside the Jewish community ; it has 
been a favourite theme of satirists in all 
ages. It is, however, peculiarly offensive in 
the followers of a religion which teaches, 
above all others, that a man should con- 
secrate all the activities of life to the service 
of the Supreme. 

The Jew in London 175 

It must be noted, on the other hand, that 
the proportion of convictions for serious 
crime amongst the Jews, native and foreign, 
is far smaller than amongst the general 
population. The number of Jewish convicts 
has, of course, increased in recent years 
with the growth of the Jewish population, 
but it is still inconsiderable. In 1897, 485 
Jewish prisoners, convicted or awaiting trial, 
were admitted into English prisons.* The 
offences most commonly committed by 
them are larceny and receiving stolen 
property. The great majority have been 
born abroad. Thus, of the twenty - four 
Jews who were imprisoned in Wormwood 
Scrubbs in April 1899, eighteen were from 
Poland or Russia, some having arrived from 
one to six months from abroad. Habitual 
criminals are rare.t 

* These figures are taken from the Report of the Overseers of the 
United Synagogue for 1897. I have been unable to obtain later 

t Thus, of the twenty-four in Wormwood Scrubbs in April 1899, 
fourteen were imprisoned for a first offence ; five for a second ; two 
for a thurd ; two for a fifth ; one for a sixth. Rev. M. Adler, who 

176 The Jew in London 

On the other hand, the increase of 
juvenile crime amongst the Jews of White- 
chapel has, of late, attracted the serious 
a,ttention of the magistrates and has 
necessitated the foundation of a Jewish 
industrial school. Even so, the boys 
concerned are in reality few ; it is just 
because crime rarely occurs amongst the 
Jews that their doings have attracted so 
much attention. The process by which 
large districts of East London have been 
invaded by foreign Jews may be regarded 
with mixed feelings ; it is certain that, in 
many streets, it has replaced a thoroughly 
vicious class by hardworking and re- 
spectable persons.* 

lias visited the prison since 1892, informs me that he has only met 
five men who may be called habitual criminals, It may be added 
that there never have been more than six Jewesses at one time at 
Wormwood Scrubbs ; and the officials can only remember four who 
have been sent there more than once. 

* The following streets, which, in Mr Charles Booth's map, com- 
piled in 1887, were coloured black as being inhabited by the 'vicious 
■and semi-criminal,' are now Jewish and respectable : — In White- 
chapel and Spitalfields — part of Plough Street, Thrawl Street, 
Flower and Dean Street (a few bad houses remain here). In St 
•George's-in-the-East — Ship Alley, St George's Court, now Challis 

The Jew in London 177 

I have little to add to Mr Russell's 
remarks about Jews and public-houses. It 
is, of course, a commonplace that drunkards 
and teetotallers are about equally uncommon 
amongst us. It is rare indeed to see a 
drunken Jew in the streets, and cilthough 
Jewish publicans are common enough, 
their houses are nearly all conducted re- 
spectably. Trade societies habitually hold 
their meetings in public-houses — a fact 
which one is disposed to regret; but there 
is no reason to suppose that this leads 
to any actual excess. A few public- 
liouses, owned by Jews, on the borders 
of the City, have an evil reputation for 
iDeing used for the purpose of betting, 
Taut they are certainly not frequented by 

■Court (William Street), Matilda Street, Matilda Place, Turner's 
"Buildings, part of Little Turner Street, Bamett Street. In Mile 
End — John's Place (Baker Street), part of Adelina Grove, Eagle 
Place, part of Oxford Street and Newark Street. In Bethnal Green — 
•Code Street and Butler's Buildings. In Great Pearl Street and 
Little Pearl Street, Spitalfields, a large proportion of the vicious 
jjopulation has been replaced by Jews. 


178 The Jew in London 

A word must be said of gambling, which 
is so common a failing of the foreigners, 
as it is of other sections of the Jewish com- 
munity. Card-playing, at home or at one 
of' the cook-shops which abound in White- 
chapel, is a favourite form of dissipation, 
possibly harmless in itself but very likely 
to be carried to excess. A brisk trade in 
foreign lottery tickets is also carried on ; 
it is not uncommon for a Jewish workman 
to spend ;^5 a year in the purchase of 
these. The restraining force of prudence 
prevents all but a small section of persons 
from reducing themselves to actual destitution 
by gambling, but it cannot be doubted that 
this unhealthy form of excitement exercises 
a deleterious influence on those who suc- 
cumb to it. 

We cannot deny therefore the existence 
of certain signs of moral degeneration in 
the Jewish immigrants from Russia and 
Poland. Their defects are to be attributed, 
however, almost entirely to the influence 

The Jew in London 179 

of generations of persecution. The Jew 
living in Russia has to fight with a hostile 
government for a bare subsistence. I have 
heard from quite reliable informants that 
they have been forced to abandon business 
after business owing to malicious interference 
on the part of the Russian police. When law 
and order thus become the foes of the honest 
man, the belief is inevitably induced that any 
evasion is allowable. Just as a forty years' 
wandering in the desert was needed to wean 
the Israelites of old from the defects of 
character induced by Egyptian bondage, so 
will the discipline of experience alone avail 
to remove the Ghetto taint. 

Let us remember also that the foreign 
Jew possesses many valuable qualities both 
moral and intellectual. I have already said 
something about that generous charity which 
is nowhere more displayed than amongst the 
foreign Jews of East London. ' I sleep but 
my heart awaketh,' exclaims the Shulammite 
woman in the Song of Songs, who typifies 

i8o The Jew in London 

the congregation of Israel. ' Though I sleep,' 
explain the Rabbis, ' with respect to the 
fulfilment of other precepts, my heart is 
awake in performing acts of kindness to 
my fellow-men.' The Polish Jew rarely 
loses his Jewish sympathies. One of my 
friends, living in St George's-in-the-East, 
had a neighbour who married one of his 
daughters to a Christian and another to 
a ' Socialist,' * while his wife would sometimes 
curse in the yard like a ' devil, not a man.' 
Yet this family would take poor Jews into 
their home and support them for days at 
a time. Besides performing individual acts 
of neighbourly kindness, we find that the 
foreign Jews organise a number of charitable 
societies which depend almost entirely on 
local support. The larger communal insti- 
tutions do not, in most cases, obtain any 
considerable proportion of their income from 
East-End sources, but the chief cause of this 

* See Mr Russell's remarks (p. 128) on the connotation of this 
term as employed by the foreign Jews. 

The Jew in London i8r 

is that they do not cater for weekly sub- 
scriptions — the most favourite method of 
contributing to societies, and indeed the 
only one possible for persons of limited means. 
The success of the Orphan Aid Society, 
which collects funds for the Jewish Orphan 
Asylum at Norwood, will illustrate the value 
of East-End support. This Society contains 
1300 members, and contributed last year 
;^388 to the funds of the parent institution. 
At least 1 1 50 of its members belong to 
East London. 

The beauty of Jewish home life has 
always struck the outside observer. This 
is primarily due to religious influence ; for 
Judaism consecrates the home, which is 
the sphere of some of its most touching 
ceremonials. Friday evening, which ushers 
in the Sabbath, is in particular a family 
festivity, as all readers of Daniel Deronda 
will remember. Jewish children, sent for 
a fortnight's holiday in the country, and 
living for the time amongst Christians, 

1 82 The Jew in London 

have often told me how they miss the usual 
family gathering, when the Sabbath lamp is 
lighted, the cup of wine is drunk, and the 
father pronounces a blessing upon his 
children. It is no exaggeration to say that 
the happiest hours of a Jew's life are those 
spent within his home ; and family ties are 
in consequence much stronger amongst us 
than in the outside world. This fact will 
help to explain one of the means by which 
Judaism resists the tendency to assimilation. 
Although neither the knowledge nor the 
practice of religion comes by inheritance, 
yet Judaism is strengthened by forces of 
early association and ancestral love. 

The zeal of Jewish parents for their 
children's advancement is very noticeable. 
For this end they will make every sacrifice. 
Nor is it simply their ambition that their 
children should make money. They regard 
a good education as valuable for its own 
sake. They take a great interest in their 
children's progress at school. The high 

The Jew in London 183 

percentages of attendance in the Jewish 
voluntary schools, and in Board schools 
largely attended by Jewish children, are 
as creditable to the parents as they are 
to the teachers. In a Jewish home, however 
humble, intellectual interests are never en- 
tirely absent. It is most pathetic to see 
the zeal with which scholars of the Jews' 
Free School, sometimes members of a 
family occupying only one room, will struggle 
with the difficulties of home lessons amidst 
all the interruptions of crying babies and 
other household distractions. Jewish parents 
have availed themselves most eagerly of 
the opportunities for secondary teaching 
given to promising children by means of 
the scholarship ladder of the Technical 
Education Board. We shall have occasion 
to speak presently of their zeal for the 
religious education of their sons, but we 
may note in passing that the almost in- 
variable presence of intellectual interests 
amongst Jews causes degraded types of 

184 The Jew in London 

poverty to be of rare occurrence amongst 

Jewish law is very strict in requiring the 
utmost honour and obedience to parents. 
Scripture teaches that the fear and honour 
of parents is a duty only comparable with 
reverence for God himself. A son may not 
sit on his father's seat or contradict his 
words. He must honour his parents by 
providing them with all necessaries, treating 
them with the utmost respect although 
they may be entirely dependent upon him.* 
These principles secure from Jews far 
more than a mere theoretical adhesion. 
Undutiful children are cjuite an exception 
in our community, and it may be added 
that if any comparison be made in this 
respect between English and foreign-born, 
such comparison will certainly be favourable 
to the latter. It is true that childish dis- 
obedience and rudeness to parents are 
common enough. The child in Poland 

* See Kidduskin, 31. 

The Jew in London 185 

probably enjoys less freedom than he does 
in Whitechapel, where his playground is 
the street with all its promiscuous comrade- 
ship. Added to this fact, Jewish parents 
are usually indulgent and sometimes very in- 
discreet in the management of children, so that 
we need not be surprised if they sometimes 
lament that ' englische Kinder ' — i.e., children 
.brought up in England — are inferior to 
those educated abroad. The injudicious 
mother who bribes her children by frequent 
gifts of farthings is a common enough 
figure in East London. On the whole, 
however, disobedience is exceptional and 
evanescent, and respect for parents is pre- 
served even after the critical age when the 
boy or girl goes out to work and gradually 
becomes self-supporting. Grown-up children, 
living at home and unmarried, contribute 
a fair proportion of their earnings to the 
family exchequer, sons usually giving over 
half, whilst daughters, who spend more 
money on clothing, often content themselves 

1 86 The Jew in London 

with paying their parents about five shillings 
a week. A large majority of parents, when 
past work, are willingly supported by their 
children, although, of course, there are other 
cases where the task is beyond the means 
of the children and the assistance of the 
Jewish Board of Guardians or of a home 
for the aged becomes necessary. It is most 
unusual for the aged poor of the Jewish 
community to come upon the rates, even 
in those parishes where out-door relief is 

The conjugal relations of the foreign 
Jews present some difficult problems, but 
they must be pronounced to be generally 
satisfactory. The Jew is a born critic, 
but he seldom finds fault with his wife, 
and he is, as a rule, blessed with domestic 
happiness. The Jewish husband spends 
most of his leisure at home, and, possibly 
owing to this fact, his wife's advice and 
influence count for much with him. As 
I have already stated, Jewish women are 

The Jew in London 187 

seldom allowed by their husbands to go 
out to work, although, if the family has 
a shop, much of its management devolves 
on the wife, and interferes very little 
with the performance of ordinary home 
duties. The Jewish husband is generous 
to his wife so far as his means will 
allow, and he does not retain a large 
proportion of his wages as pocket-money. 
So far as household expenses are con- 
cerned, the wife is chancellor of the 
■exchequer. The result is that the 
husband seems often more liberal in his 
ideas of money than the wife, who is 
weighted with the responsibility of avoid- 
ing a deficit in the family budget. Poverty 
necessarily makes home life more difficult, 
and the absence of privacy for members 
of a family who have only one or two 
rooms of their own must often tempt 
them to seek distraction elsewhere. It 
is all the more remarkable that foreign 
Jews, whose houses are so often over- 

1 88 The Jew in London 

crowded, are able to conquer adverse 
influences and to set such an example of 
happy and contented home life. 

I must revert to the question of wife- 
desertion, which is an evil sufficiently 
common amongst foreign Jews to detract 
from the almost completely favourable 
judgment which one would otherwise pro- 
nounce on their conjugal relations. The 
evil is one dating far back in Jewish 
history ; it was, and often is, caused by 
the husband's necessity and not his choice. 
Commenting on the verse which declares 
that the daughter of Zion 'has become 
as a widow,' the Rabbis explain that she 
is not actually widowed, but is as one 
whose husband has departed to lands across 
the sea, intending to ultimately return.* 
The idea was doubtless suggested by 
the experience of their own times. The 
following remarks by Mr Israel Abrahams 
on wife - desertion in the Middle Ages 

* Taanith, 20a. 

The Jew in London 189 

will help us to understand present day- 
conditions : — 

' Wife - desertion was an evil which it 
was harder to deal with, for, owing to 
the unsettlement of Jewish life under 
continuous persecution, the husband was 
frequently bound to leave home in search 
of a livelihood, and, perhaps, to contract 
his services for long periods to foreign 
employers. The husband endeavoiared to 
make ample provision for his wife's main- 
tenance during his absence, or, if he failed 
to do so, the wife was supported at the 
public cost and the husband compelled 
to refund the sum so expended. These 
absences grew to such abnormal lengths 
that, in the twelfth century, it became 
necessary to protect the wife by limiting 
the absence to eighteen months, an interval 
which was only permitted to husbands who 
had obtained the formal sanction of the 
communal authorities. On his return the 
husband was compelled to remain at least 

190 The Jew in London 

six months with his family before again 
starting on his involuntary travels,'* 

These statements require modification if 
they are to be applied to Modern England, 
where persecution is non-existent and the con- 
trol of the ' communal authorities ' has become 
weak. It still, however, continues true that 
the absent husband has often left in search 
of work and intends to return or to send 
for his wife in his new home when cir- 
cumstances become more favourable. The 
Jewish Board of Guardians finds at tirties, 
in alleged cases of desertion, that there is 
collusion between husband and wife, and 
that they are in regular communication with 
each other. It may happen also that a man 
is compelled to leave England by a doctor's 
orders and that his wife has to remain 
behind until he has established himself in 
America or South Africa. Undoubtedly, 
however, there are cases where a Jewish 
husband loses his work and tries to escape 

* Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, ch. v. 

The Jew in London 191 

his responsibilities by flight. The excuse 
which he sometimes makes is that he cannot 
bear to see his wife and children starving, 
and perhaps he imagines that, if he goes, 
charitable assistance will be forthcoming 
on their behalf. The Jewish Board of 
Guardians has frequently the painful duty 
of refusing such relief, which, if freely given, 
would encourage desertion in other cases. 
As an explanation of the worst type of cases 
of wife-desertion, it must be remembered 
that foreign Jews have been accustomed to 
a greater facility of divorce than is permitted 
in England, and the unscrupulous amongst 
their number wish to evade the provisions 
of English law. Cases of wife-desertion, as 
opposed to those of temporary absence, are, 
however, comparatively few in number. 

The masterly picture, drawn by Mr 
Russell, of the Jew as workman may be 
accepted as substantially correct. Un- 
doubtedly he is industrious, sober and, in 
a sense, reliable; but, on the other hand, 

192 The Jew in London 

an inveterate individualist, whose ambition 
is usually for himself rather than for his 
class. He desires almost invariably to 
become ultimately a small master, a dealer 
or a shop-keeper ; to live, in short, on 
profits rather than on wages. This fact 
diminishes his powers of combination, and 
few permanent successes can be recorded 
in the history of Trade Unionism amongst 
the foreign Jews resident in England. The 
prevalence of the ' sweating system ' in such 
specifically Jewish trades as tailoring, boot- 
making, cabinetmaking, arises largely from 
these peculiarities of character, although 
trade conditions have, of course, a most 
important influence on methods of produc- 
tion. I only propose to consider how far 
social life and the ' sweating system ' are 
mutually interdependent. 

One important aspect of the case must 
not be forgotten. In the small workshop 
there is practically no class distinction be- 
tween master and man. They are usually 

The Jew in London 193 

also united by a common religion and by 
numerous associations, which tend to 
humanise even business relations. It will 
often be found that the master, in select- 
ing his hands, gives a preference to his 
'landsmann' who hailed originally from 
the same town in Poland. This will not 
always prevent the master from imposing 
hard or even unfair terms, but it remains 
true that, in the small workshop, there 
usually exist far more kindliness and good 
feeling than in the large factory. Journey- 
men out of work often receive much 
assistance from their former employers, and 
many small acts of kindness, which do 
so much to sweeten human relations, are 
some set-off to the criticisms which can 
be justly levelled against the 'sweating 

There is another special peculiarity of 
the foreign Jew which has tended to create 
and to perpetuate this method of production. 
Whilst possessing undoubted industry and 


194 The Jew in London 

powers of endurance, he is with difficulty 
disciplined into the orderly regularity and 
steady methods which are essential to the 
large factory. The long hours for which 
tailors and bootmakers work are not quite 
so exhausting as they seem. The pressure 
is by no means equal. At certain times it 
is undoubtedly very intense — Thursday 
evening, for example, often brings with it 
a great press of work. But there are 
intervals also in which very little is done ; 
when cigarettes are smoked and topics are 
discussed in the workshop which would 
surprise those who have not been initiated 
into the vigorous intellectuality that often 
lurks behind the unpromising exterior of 
the Polish Jew. It might be much better 
for his health to work steadily for ten hours 
a day in a factory, but not only are his 
powers as an industrial machine un- 
doubtedly greater under the present system, 
but he finds life fuller and richer in interest. 
It must be noted also that the difficulties of 

The Jew in London 195 

Sabbath observance are lessened for those 
who work for small masters. 

Social relations between Christians and 
foreign Jews are very limited in extent, 
even when they are employed in the same 
workshop. The question whether they 
compete together in the labour market to 
a serious extent has been often discussed, 
and a summary of the arguments on both 
sides is stated very fairly by Mr Russell. 
Personally, I do not believe that any 
antagonism which may exist between them 
is caused by a mutual feeling that they 
are trade rivals. 

Two other motives are much more 
powerful in this respect. The Jews of 
London are insignificant in numbers com- 
pared with the whole population, but in 
some parts of East London they are in 
an overwhelming majority. Their numbers 
are undoubtedly increasing rapidly, less 
through immigration from abroad than from 
the natural increase of population which is 

1 96 The Jew in London 

exceptionally great amongst them, because 
they usually marry young and have ex- 
tremely large families. This growth of 
population has been otvious to those who 
have only been able to observe it for a 
few years. Whole streets, formerly Gentile, 
have within the last three years become 
almost completely foreign. In St George's, 
in Stepney, and in the south-west division 
of Bethnal Green, the change has been 
most marked. The density of population, 
too, within the Jewish district is much 
increased ; the two-storied tenement houses 
having been often displaced by the lofty 
model dwellings, which shelter some 
hundreds of families upon a comparatively 
narrow site. Thus the Jew is more in 
evidence than ever before, and, being 
naturally self-assertive and fond of display, 
he does not allow his presence to be for- 
gotten. He overcrowds his home, and can 
therefore afford to pay a higher rent 
than that previously obtained, and he 

The Jew in London 197 

therefore gradually displaces the Gentile 
population. The facts of the situation have 
been rapidly grasped by certain house specu- 
lators, who take merciless advantage of eco- 
nomic conditions. The housing problem is 
common to London as a whole, but it will 
be seen that in the Jewish districts it 
presents features of its own which render 
anti-Semitism a very real danger. On the 
other hand, the Jewish community is 
awakening to its responsibility in the 
matter, and will probably do its share in 
providing, through private enterprise, house 
accommodation for the working classes at 
reasonable rents. 

But, temporary causes apart, such feel- 
ings of dislike, or rather of mistrust, as 
exist between the Christian and the 
foreign Jew depend less on logic than on 
sentiment. Holy Writ commands us to 
'love the stranger,' but the natural man 
finds it difficult to obey this injunction. 
We all tolerate, with reluctance, any 

198 The Jew in London 

departure from the type to which we 
ourselves belong. Firm persistence in the 
maintenance of separate religious rites is, 
in itself, unpopular ; although consistency, 
even in an unpopular cause, wins respect 
in the long run. External differences 
probably weigh more with the general run 
of man than those which depend on 
doctrine or ritual. Mere dissimilarity of 
appearance, language, ideas in itself 
produces antagonism. Even the townsman 
and the countryman are in imperfect 
sympathy with each other, and where 
differences are more essential distrust will 
be correspondingly greater. Years ago 
I heard Ben Tillett say of the foreign 
Jews, 'Yes, you are our brothers and we 
will do our duty by you. But we wish 
you had not come to this country.' I 
think that these words represent not 
unfairly the views of a large section of 
London workmen. Undoubtedly the 
foreign Jew, on his side, regards the 

The Jew in London 199 

Christian as his inferior both morally and 
intellectually. The healing influence of 
time may not produce uniformity of type, 
but it will gradually bring about a better 
mutual understanding between Jew and 
Christian which will enable them to work 
out their destinies side by side. 

Hitherto I have chiefly been consider- 
ing the external relations of the East- End 
Jew. I turn now to the consideration of 
his inner spiritual life. The question is at 
once fundamental and extremely difficult ; 
I cannot pretend to do more than indicate 
certain tendencies which appear to be at 

I must admit that Mr Russell makes out 
his point that Sabbath observance and 
synagogue attendance are both diminish- 
ing, although his statements appear to be 
somewhat exaggerated. In such specific- 
ally Jewish trades as tailoring and boot- 
making, it seems clear that over half of 

200 The Jew in London 

those employed abstain from work on the 
Sabbath. A circular on Sabbath observance, 
sent by the Chief Rabbi in 1897 to the 
principal merchant tailors who employ 
labour in their own workshops or give 
out work to middlemen, elicited many 
encouraging replies. Some extracts from 
these may be of interest. ' The Jewish 
tailors and tailoresses who work on these 
premises are paid on Friday afternoon 
... no difficulty is created by the company 
calculated in any way to prevent such 
workpeople from attending to and enjoy- 
ing their religious duties.' ' Our own 
factory in . . . Street we have closed for 
some years past on Saturday as regards 
members of your community.' 'We always 
do all we can to meet our Jewish em- 
ployis as regards their religion, and as far 
as we know none work on Saturday.' 'We 
have always done our utmost to enable our 
Jewish work hands to keep their Sabbath ; 
workshops, devoted entirely to Jews, are 

The Jew in London 201 

closed from Friday afternoon at about four 
o'clock and the whole of Saturday. These 
are open on Sundays.' ' Our factory is 
closed on Saturdays and festivals, so that 
our Jewish workmen can keep the Sabbath,' 
A master tailor, living in Princelet Street, 
Spitalfields, who is in a large way of busi- 
ness, informs me that in his own immediate 
neighbourhood very few employers open 
their workshops on the Sabbath. On the 
other hand, the customer tailor, who ob- 
tains orders at irregular intervals, which 
have to be executed at short notice, often 
finds it practically impossible to avoid 
Sabbath labour. In the various branches 
of the furniture trade — cabinet-making, up- 
holstering, polishing — there is much dese- 
cration of the Sabbath. In many cases 
also where a Jew engages in trades in 
which the bulk of those employed are 
Christians, he finds it difficult to observe 
a day of rest different from that of his 
fellow-workmen. This fact is illustrated 

202 The Jew in London 

by the result of an inquiry into the ap- 
prenticeship system of the Jewish Board of 
Guardians recently conducted by Mr Ernest 
Morley and myself. After examining 115 
cases of lads whose indentures had ex- 
pired for about two years, we found that 
a large majority were working at the trade 
to which they had been apprenticed and 
were doing well. We felt it our duty, 
however, to make the following remarks 
on the subject of Sabbath observance : — 

' We thought it wiser to make no 
systematic inquiries as to whether ex- 
apprentices were working on the Sabbath. 
Two apprentices complained that they got 
inferior work and wages because they 
refused so to work. One states that he 
works on Sabbath and obtains New Year 
and the Day of Atonement with difficulty, 
and another actually lost a situation through 
refusing to work on those festivals. In ad- 
dition, a considerable number volunteered 
the information that they worked on 

The Jew in London 203 

Sabbath but regretted the necessity of 
doing so, and although we are unable to 
produce statistics we are practically certain 
that the majority do as a fact (whether of 
their own free will or otherwise) work on 
Saturdays. One Christian master mentioned 
that he kept on his apprentice because he 
was satisfactory, but that he found it very 
inconvenient because the latter did not 
work on Sabbath, while his Jewish trade 
rivals were less scrupulous.' 

Jewish shopkeepers in the bye-streets 
of the Jewish districts nearly all close 
their shops on the Sabbath. Wentworth 
Street — which has inherited the name and 
traditions of the old ' Petticoat Lane ' — en- 
joys a Sabbatical calm and quiet which is 
unknown to it during the remainder of 
the week. On the other hand, many 
Jewish shopkeepers, in main thoroughfares 
such as the Whitechapel Road, carry on 
business on the Sabbath ; and the same is 
true of Jewish costermongers who are 

204 The Jew in London 

dependent on Gentile custom — those, for 
example, who trade in Watney Street, St 
George's - in - the - East, or in Brick Lane. 
In many cases this desecration of the 
Sabbath arises from a quasi-compulsion, 
and has been preceded by an effort to 
observe the day of rest, only abandoned 
after serious loss has been sustained. 

Mr Russell has mentioned the wilful 
desecration of the Sabbath practised by 
those who frequent places of amusement on 
that day. Although this laxity is un- 
doubtedly increasing, it is generally con- 
demned by Jewish public opinion, and it 
is practised by a comparatively small section 
of the community. It should be mentioned 
that the morning performances in Yiddish, 
on Saturday afternoons and Jewish Festi- 
vals, at the Standard Theatre, are only 
given very occasionally. 

I agree with Mr Russell that an increas- 
ing proportion of Jews attend synagogue 
irregularly, although a considerable number 

The Jew in London 205 

of new places of worship, including the 
synagogue recently opened by the Maha- 
zike Haddath* are well filled. It is certain 
that the number of foreign Jewish workmen 
attending synagogue is far greater than 
that of churchgoers amongst any sections 
of Christians other than the Catholics. 
Again, whilst in most church congregations 
there is a large preponderance of women 
and children, they are in a minority in the 
East-End synagogue. Judaism does not, 
in spite of all assertions to the contrary, 
regard women as inferior, but there has 
certainly been a tendency amongst Jews t 
to consider that the proper sphere of female 
influence is rather the home than the 
synagogue. At any rate, the wife of the 
East-End orthodox Jew does not attend 
synagogue very often. Her chief duty 
is to train up her children well and re- 

* See p. loi. 

t I say advisedly ' tendency amongst Jews ' rather than of 
Judaism. The Biblical narrative tells of as many heroines as of 

2o6 The Jew in London 

ligiously, to keep a kosher house, and to 
practise that bestowal of kindness to which 
Judaism attaches more importance than 
to mere almsgiving. 

East-end synagogues are perhaps not 
calculated to impress favourably a casual 
visitor to whom the whole service is 
unintelligible. There is no decorum, and 
during parts of the service there is 
much talking and noisy movement. 
But, none the less, the little synagogue, 
sometimes insanitary and built with 
unlovely surroundings, is the seat of deep 
devotion — a devotion full of self-abandon- 
ment, supplying the worshipper with 
an inspiration which transfigures his life 
and makes him feel that he too has a 
share in the traditions and in the hopes 
of the chosen race. It is indeed difficult 
to realise how strong is the affection 
which the Jewish liturgy excites amongst 
those who have grown up under its in- 
fluence. The ground-work of the service 

The Jew in London 207 

is almost without exception simple and 
sublime ; even in a translation its beauty 
can be appreciated.* On the festivals and 
chief Sabbaths this is supplemented by a 
number of poetical compositions, sometimes 
beautiful, sometimes quaint and curious, occa- 
sionally absurd, often endeared to the wor- 
shippers by familiar and touching melodies. 
And we must note that none of the activities 
of life are considered common and secular. 
The Jewish poet dares to praise God, on 
occasion, for instructing us in the weights 
and measures ; t he converts the Ptolemaic 
system of cycle and epicycle into an ode 
of touching sublimity, in which he re- 
hearses, as far as his knowledge permits, 
how the heavens declare the glory of God.| 
A large majority of Jews understand their 

* I would refer the English reader to the Authorised Daily 
Prayer-Book, with an excellent translation by Rev. S. Singer. 

t Kalir in a long poem for the Sabbath of the Shekels. 

Z Solomon Gabirol in his Kingly Crown, which is included by 
some Jews in the ritual for the Day of Atonement. Parts of it have 
been translated into English verse by Mrs Lucas in her Jewish 
Year. She leaves out, however, most of the astronomy. 

2o8 The Jew in London 

liturgy very imperfectly. Many of the 
poems contained in it were written by 
the learned for the learned, and presuppose 
some degree of familiarity with allusions 
to Talmud and Midrash. The simple- 
minded orthodox Jew of modern times 
will read them without understanding them 
very much, and perhaps associating them 
chiefly with the tuneS to which they are 
chanted. At the same time, he is in full 
sympathy with the spirit of the service, 
and he feels a spiritual glow as he repeats 
the words which his father tatight him, 
and which link him with so many past 
generations of Jewish worshippers. Where 
the meaning of the words is hidden his 
imagination will supply the gap. It may 
not be the highest form of worship, but 
it is better than the attitude of the cold 
critic who does not worship at all. 

The English Jew has been trained in 
another manner, and he finds the existing 
service of the synagogue unsatisfying. In 

The Jew in London 209 

the West End he may show his dis- 
satisfaction by active protest at congre- 
gational meetings or by writing letters to 
the Jewish papers. He asks for shorter 
and more intelligible services, for omission 
of allusions which he regards as antiquated, 
and for a more extended use of the verna- 
cular. The English Jew of East London, 
with no leisure for religious controversy, 
usually protests, when he feels so disposed, 
by simply absenting himself from the 
synagogue. The Yam Kippur Jew, to 
whom Mr Russell alludes,* is certainly to 
be found both in East and West London. 
On the Day of Atonement one sees many 
persons in the Whitechapel Road who 
refrain from work and food, but spend 
most of the day in wandering a,imlessly 
about the streets. The need for a more 
elastic service, appealing to the hearts of 
those brought up under the altered con- 
ditions, is sufficiently clear. It is widely 

* Seep. 123. 

2IO The Jew in London 

recognised, and in West London especially 
something has been done to satisfy modern 
requirements. But officialdom moves slowly, 
and besides, the orthodox resent not un- 
naturally every concession made, and desire 
that the Judaism of the Talmud and of the 
mediaeval codifiers should alone be re- 
cognised in the service of the synagogue. 
These ritual disputes are therefore more 
fundamental than they appear on the 
surface, and indicate varying conceptions 
of Jewish dogma. Sufficient unity of 
feeling continues, however, to exist between 
the various sections of the community to 
lead one to hope that Judaism will continue 
to possess that solidarity which has enabled 
it in the past to avoid sectarianism whilst 
preserving full freedom of speculation for 
all within its fold. 

Jewish history has always been marked 
by much controversy but no abiding 
division. This principle will probably be 
exemplified again by the future history of 

The Jew in London 211 

the Mahazike Haddath. The secession of 
these ' upholders of the law ' was, at bottom, 
a protest against undue centralisation — 
against the government of the foreign Jews, 
who are the most numerous section of the 
community, by English Jews, who are in 
imperfect sympathy with them. The leaders 
of the movement wished to have an eccle- 
siastical head of their own, independent of 
the Chief Rabbi, who has done wonders 
in holding the community together, but has 
naturally offended many extremists. The 
foreign Jew complains that his native-born 
co-religionist preaches to him constantly 
about the duties of English citizenship, but 
is deplorably lacking in ' Yiddish-keit ' — 
Jewish observances and Jewish feeling. He 
speaks contemptuously, in moments of bitter- 
ness, of the ' West- End ^ojj/,'* and desires to 
be independent of him in religious matters. 
This general sentiment of distrust has been 
complicated by irritating disputes about the 

* Goy, z.«., heathen. 

212 The Jezc in London 

licensing of Jewish butcliers and the 
slausfhter of animals for food. Some of the 
orthodox have expressed distrust with the 
precautions taken by the ecclesiastical 
authorities to ensvire the proper method of 
slaughter and to remove forbidden fat from 
the carcases exposed for sale. None of the 
questions that have arisen would excuse a 
prolonged breach. The healing influence of 
time will lessen divergence of sentiment and 
enable native-bom and foreigner to cultivate 
a better understanding. The practical 
grievances of the secessionists w411 probably 
be ultimatelv remedied bv the recoPTiition 
of their rights and that of their Rabbi to 
exercise a defined measure of independent 

Whilst giving every credit to the earnest- 
ness of vaaxiy who have identified themselves 
with the Mahazike Haddath, and to the en- 
thusiasm which enabled them, during the 
autumn of 189S, to open a large synagogue in 
Spitalfields, it cannot be doubted that diere are 

The Jew in London 213 

other elements in the movement besides re- 
ligious zeal. An independent foreign com- 
munity, if created, would give scope to the 
ambitions of many men who feel themselves 
now unappreciated. The size and importance 
of the new synagogue have attracted new 
members who had hitherto held aloof. It 
must be added that the past record of some 
prominent leaders in the movement is far 
from inspiring confidence. 

The formation of the Stepney Orthodox 
Synagogue also deserves mention as illus- 
trating divergent currents of opinion in the 
community. In Stepney there is a place of 
worship under the control of the United 
Synagogue, a body to which are federated 
the chief metropolitan synagogues. The 
members are chiefly English Jews, and the 
minister is a very zealous and open-minded 
man, who takes an active share in communal 
and philanthropic work. In the hope of 
enlisting the interests of the younger mem- 
bers of the congregation in synagogal 

214 The Jew in London 

matters, he organised in December 1895, 
with the approval of his board of manage- 
ment, a voluntary choir, partly composed of 
girls. This step is in conflict with orthodox 
custom,* and it led to the secession of a 
certain number of members, who founded 
the Stepney Orthodox Synagogne, which 
continued to acknowledge the jurisdiction of 
the Chief Rabbi. In the long run this 
secession has proved beneficial, although it 
caused locally some temporary bitterness. 
Judaism, like the Church of England, can 
only preserve its catholicity by admitting 
varieties of service and ritual suited to the 
ideas of the various sections of the com- 
munity. In this particular instance the 
gaps in the membership of the older place 
of worship have been filled up t and the two 
synagogues are both prospering side by side. 
One of the most striking features in the 

* Some would say that it is in conflict with orthodox law, but I 
do not think that this can be established except on the Talmudic 
principle that ' a custonn of Israel is law.' 

t Before the secession there were 306 male seatholders; at the 
end of 1898 there were 324. 

The Jew in London 215 

foreign Jew is his anxiety that his children 
should receive sufficient instruction in 
Hebrew. Quite poor parents frequently 
pay a shilling a week for each of their 
sons to the melammid, or teacher, who 
instructs them in the Hebrew school or 
cheder. The boy attends there from the 
time when he is six years old, or earlier ; 
and he nearly always leaves at the age 
of thirteen, when Jewish law regards him 
as responsible for his actions and bound 
to perform all Mosaic commands. During 
this time he learns in succession Hebrew 
reading, the translation of the Pentateuch, 
and easy passages in the commentary on 
the Pentateuch, written by Rashi, an illus- 
trious French Rabbi of the eleventh century. 
He also gains familiarity with the funda- 
mental portions of the liturgy, although, 
unfortunately, he is sometimes taught to 
'daven,' or repeat his prayers, without 
understanding them. In some of the better 
chedarim Hebrew grammar is taught, and 

2i6 The Jew in London 

the more advanced pupils study the 
elements of ritual law. Moral instruction 
is given by the more enlightened teachers, 
but is often neglected. The teaching 
given is usually very earnest and effective ; 
boys attending cheder acquire a far 
greater knowledge of Hebrew than those 
whose training in that subject is only 
derived from Jewish voluntary schools or 
from the religious classes attached to 
those Board schools which are principally 
attended by Jewish children. 

Mr Russell has given an adequate de- 
scription of the attack directed against the 
cheder at the conference on religious educa- 
tion held in 1898. This attack has been 
more recently renewed by Lord Rothschild, 
who sent a circular to the parents of the 
scholars of the Jews' Free School, of 
which he is president, begging them not 
to endanger their children's health by the 
excessive hours of the cheder, and assur- 
ing them that the managers of the school 

The Jew in London 217 

would be willing themselves to give ad- 
ditional facilities for more suitable religious 
teaching. The issue of this circular led to 
an outbreak of angry feeling amongst the 
parents, and a subsequent conference be- 
tween the parents and a representative 
of the managers, who invited them to 
send delegates to confer with Lord Roths- 
child, broke up in confusion. 

The chief complaints made against the 
cheder are that Yiddish is used as the 
medium of instruction, that the rooms used 
are insanitary, and that the hours are too 
long. A few remarks on each of these 
points may be desirable. 

It is complained that the use of Yiddish 
in the cheder arrests the process of Angli- 
cisation. Now it is perfectly true that in 
only a few ckedarim is instruction given in 
Eng^lish.* This arises chiefly through the 

* Five such chedarim are known to me in Whitechapel, besides 
others in outlying districts. The average number of pupils in each 
is SO, whilst a large majority of children, taught in Yiddish, attend 
chedarim conducted on a much smaller scale. 

2 1 8 The Jew in L ondon 

lack of suitable teachers who can speak 
English, and partly, doubtless, through the 
preference of the parents. Parents, who 
themselves speak Yiddish only, like to 
hear their boys repeat on Saturday what 
has been learnt during the week. Many 
of , them, too, entertain the prejudice that 
Hebrew can be better taught through the 
medium of Yiddish, or even imagine that 
this jargon has more holiness than English. 
A prejudice of this kind tends, however, 
to cure itself, and quite equally foolish is 
the idea of the West- End Jew that instruc- 
tion in Yiddish will arrest the inevitable 
process of AngliciSation. It stands to 
reason that the boy brought up in this 
country, and attending an English schbol, 
will grow up an Englishman. As a matter 
of fact, the influence of the day school,' 
in training English citizens, has in no way 
been impaired through the attendance of 
boys at cheder. None the less, it may be 
hoped that the use of Yiddish will be 

The Jew in London 219 

gradually discontinued. One gentleman, 
whose experience with East-End boys is 
very great, has assured me that the 
religious influence of the cheder is far 
more permanent when the teaching fs in 
English, for the child brought up in 
England regards Yiddish with contempt. 
I have myself met boys who had been 
taught to translate Hebrew which they 
did not understand into Yiddish, which was 
equally unintelligible to them. But, admit- 
ting that English is a far better medium of 
instruction, it cannot be denied that Yiddish 
is at present a necessity, and that much 
good work has been done by means of it. 
With regard to the alleged insanitary 
condition of chedarim, after having visited 
many, I believe that the case against them 
breaks down almost entirely. The larger 
cheder is fitted up with desks as a school- 
room ; it is not used for living purposes, 
and is seldom overcrowded or badly venti- 
lated. The objectionable chedarim are 

220 The Jew in London 

those established on a small scale by 
'greeners,' who arrive in England without 
any means of livelihood, and supplement a 
precarious living as hawkers, or sellers of 
foreign lottery tickets, by teaching a few 
children sent to them from charitable 
motives by their neighbours and friends. 
A cheder of this kind is held in a liv- 
ing-room, sometimes in an underground 
kitchen. The only excuse — a most in- 
adequate one — that can be urged for it 
is that it is usually not more unhealthy 
than the home from which the child comes. 
A very small proportion, however, of the 
children attending chedarim are educated 
under these conditions, and it is most un- 
fair to condemn all on account of a 
defective minority which should be dealt 
with by the local sanitary authorities. 

I do not think that the statistics of the 
hours of attendance at cheder, collected by 
the late Mrs N. S. Joseph * and quoted by 

* I regret to express dissent with the able paper written by Mrs 

The Jew in London 221 

Mr Russell, are correct These figures 
were obtained by questions put to boys 
whilst in attendance at the day-schools. I 
believe that the children stated the time 
that the cheder is open and not the time 
that they themselves attended ; in some 
cases, too, they had no idea whatever of 
time. Thus one boy, who is a pupil at 
one of the best chedarim, said that he 
went there for eighteen hours a week. As 
a matter of fact, he attended, theoretically, 
for two hours on five days of the week, 
and in practice, through being always late, 
he was only there about one hour a day.* 
As to the general charge that children 
suffer in health through attendance at 
cheder, I would repeat an argument used 
by Mr Cohenlask, president of the society 
o^ cheder teachers, in a letter addressed by him 
to xh& Jewish Chronicle. Foreign Jews do not 

Joseph on chedarim, more especiaUy at a time when her death is 
lamented by aU sections of the Jewish community, and by none more 
than the poor, of whom she was snch a feithfnl and wise friend. 
* See Appendix B. 

22 2 The Jew in London 

send their daughters to cheder, yet there 
is no reason to suppose that East-End girls 
enjoy better health than their brothers. 
It is eminently desirable to improve the 
health and physique of the East-End Jew, 
but the abolition of the cheder is not one 
of the methods to be attempted. 

Besides the children attending cheder, a 
considerable number are taught by visiting 
masters. Collectors of East- End provident 
and philanthropic societies often supplement 
their earnings by taking a few such pupils. 

Side by side with the cheder there exists 
the Talmud Torah* or institution for 
teaching Hebrew and religion, supported 
partly by pupils' fees and partly by sub- 
scriptions, and managed by a committee of 
subscribers. The two principal institutions 
of the kind are situated in Whitechapel. 
The larger of the two is now closely con- 
nected with the Mahazike Haddath. There 
are about a thousand pupils, and instruction 

* Talmud Torah, a Hebrew phrase meaning ' Study of the Law,' 

The Jew in London 223 

is given in Yiddish. The other has over 
six hundred pupils and instruction is given 
in English. Both institutions are quite 
full and children have to be refused ad- 
mission for want of room. The fees paid 
vary according to the circumstances of 
the parents, but average about twopence 
per child. The children attend for about 
two hours each evening. Classes at the 
Talmud Torah are much larger than at 
a cheder. A single master has often to 
teach forty pupils, and of course cannot 
give much individual attention. The 
teaching given, however, is very efficient, 
and has met with the approval of many 
educational experts. The results of the 
instruction, as measured by the progress 
made by the scholars, must be pronounced 
satisfactory. The subscriptions obtained for 
the support of both institutions are derived 
almost exclusively from the East End. 

I have perhaps given details of the 
cheder and Talmud Torah to too minute an 

224 The Jew in London 

extent, but these facts are instructive as 
showing the sacrifices which the foreign 
Jew is wilHng to make for his children. 
It is quite true that complex motives are 
at work. Even when the Polish Jew is 
not religious he wishes to see his child 
grow up amongst Jewish surroundings. 
Quite unobservant persons frequently send 
their children to cheder. In one instance 
which has come under my notice, a child 
at cheder was rebuked by his master for 
not wearing tsitsith* On the next day 
the father called and stated that he was 
an atheist who did not wish his boy to 
become religious, but sent him to cheder 
for the sake of the knowledge which he 
acquired there. This is an extreme case, 
but undoubtedly many children sent to 
cheder witness much laxity of religious 
practice in their homes, I do not agree 

' Tsitsith, i.e., fringes worn in accordance with the Mosaic precept 
in Numb. xv. 38-39. They are attached to the tallith or praying 
shawl worn in the synagogue, and to the arba canfoth, or garment 
of four corners, worn under the ordinary clothing. 

The Jew in London 225 

with Mr Russell, who denies altogether 
that the cheder has any permanent religious 
influence. This statement contains, how- 
ever, an element of truth, as many of the 
cheder teachers would themselves admit. 
Remembering what they see at home, some 
children, on being told that Judaism re- 
quires them to say their prayers and to 
keep the Sabbath, will retort, ' Is my 
father not a Jew?' On the other hand, 
many boys remain faithful to the lessons 
which they have learnt at cheder, especially 
when home influences have tended in the 
same direction. A cheder teacher has told 
me that one of his old pupils, on going to 
a remote part of Australia, was able to 
organise the religious life of the community 
there and to establish public worship. In 
some cases an irreligious parent is brought 
back to orthodoxy by his child's example. 

I do not wish to say much about efforts 
directly anti- Jewish, such as those brought 
to bear by conversionist agencies. Their 

226 The Jew in London 

influence is undoubtedly small, although 
many poor people are willing to accept 
from them material benefits. In order to 
induce Jews to be converted to Christianity, 
they are offered medical missions and soup 
kitchens, Sunday-school treats and mothers' 
meetings. I cannot think that this ig a 
right policy from any point of view. There 
is nothing more noble than the missionary 
spirit, but men and women cannot be bribed 
into the way of salvation. Whilst giving 
the promoters of these missions credit for 
honesty of purpose, I deplore their tactics 
in encouraging hypocrisy and double-dealing. 
It is indeed sad to detect families where 
young and old alike play the part of good 
Jews to their own people, but are ' Christian 
inquirers ' when the district visitor calls 
from the parish church. If they were 
genuine converts, moved by real enthusiasm 
for Christianity or any other ennobling 
religion, one could view the situation with 
far greater acquiescence. Mr Russell'g;', 

The Jew in London 227 

idea that the missionaries check assimila- 
tion seems to me somewhat far-fetched. 
The antagonism which they excite has 
very Httle influence on the relations between 
Jews and Christians generally. 

Socialism represents revolt against the 
injustices of society, and although it does 
not necessarily involve hostility to the 
accepted forms of religion, it frequently co- 
exists with such hostility. The Socialism of 
the foreign Jews is peculiarly apt to assume 
this anti-religious form. In common with 
the Latin races, the foreign Jews who are 
Socialists usually prefer anarchy to col- 
lectivism. An Anarchist paper, printed in 
Yiddish, called the Arbeiter Freund, is . 
published weekly in London. The Trades 
Unions of the foreign Jews are often directed 
by Socialist leaders — a fact which is due 
to the weakness of these organisations 
rather than to the attractive force of Social- 
ism. I am inclined to think, although I 
make the statement with some hesitation, 

228 The Jew in London 

that foreign Jewish Socialists, as they be- 
come AngHcised, drop their Socialism. 
However this may be, Socialism has so 
little influence amongst the foreign Jews 
that it need not be reckoned amongst the 
forces of disintegration which seriously 
threaten Judaism, 

The question of Zionism is more funda- . 
mental than any which we have hitherto 
discussed. I do not propose to dwell on 
the details of this extraordinary agitation 
which has caused such searchings of heart 
throughout the Jewries of Europe ; still less 
am I tempted to give any estimate of 
Zionist financial schemes. I agree, how- 
ever, with Mr Russell that, if Judaism has 
a future, that future will be attained by 
pursuing an ideal substantially at one with 
that of the Zionists. I define that ideal, 
as embodied in the watchword ' Israel a 
nation,' and it is nobly expressed by George 
Eliot's Jewish hero: 'The idea that I am 
possessed with is that of restoring a politi- 

The Jew in London 229 

cal existence to my people, making them 
a nation again, giving them a national 
centre, such as the English have, though 
they too are scattered over the face of the 
globe.' * 

The question of Jewish nationality is, in 
a sense, a more serious one for modern 
Israel than it was in mediaeval times. 
Formerly, however sad might be the 
prospect without, the Jew knew no doubt 
and could rest his soul in the study of 
the Law and the performance of its precepts. 
The whole of life was governed by circum- 
scribed rules, in the performances of which 
there was alone perfect freedom. It might 
be occasionally necessary to justify Judaism 
to the outside world, but the Jew himself 
knew full well that he must obey that 
Law, which was the divine emanation of 
the Supreme, existing before the world 
began, written in 'black fire upon white 
fire,' and embodying celestial mysteries in 

* Daniel Deronda, ch. 69. 

230 The Jew in London 

every stroke. So long as this conviction 
remained, assimilation with the Gentiles 
could only be regarded as the base sur- 
render of a divine birthright. In our age, 
however, this belief has become impossible 
for most people. Simple believers (would 
that our portion were amongst them !) still 
retain the old sense of confident certitude, 
but most of us realise that the Bible and 
the traditions contaia a human element, 
and thalt only gleams of divine light shine 
upon the ' dimmed mirror ' of our hearts. 
Judaism still remains as an expression 5f 
pure monotheistic belief, but its centre of 
gravity has changed ; its peculiar institutions 
are. no longer completely divided in kind 
from those of other races. If Israel is a 
nation, the essential elements in our dis- 
tinctive laws, such as the prohibition o 
intermarriage, are invested with a purpose, 
which justifies their preservation. On any 
other hypothesis I doubt whether a con- 
tinuation of separateness will be found 

T/te Jew in London 231 

desirable or possible. I do not undervalue 
the impulse given to true religion by a 
small band of English Jews who, taking 
little heed of ceremonialism or the racial 
tie, have emphasised the need for a deeper 
spiritual life. They have done good service 
in combating the comfortable materialism 
which is quite compatible with a theoretical 
orthodoxy. At the same time a spiritual 
monotheism, divorced from the principle of 
nationality, has so little in common with 
the old historical Judaism that it may well 
fail, in the long run, to keep a separate 
place in the commonwealth of religions. 

It is hardly the object of this essay to 
express personal preferences, and I am 
therefore more concerned to show that 
the Jewish race is likely to cherish the 
national ideal rather than to discuss 
whether such an ideal is a desirable one. 
Now, however, when the principle of nation- 
ality, which was belittled by an older school 
of economists and politicians, has established 

232 The Jew in London 

itself so firmly, it should be readily admitted 
that whilst every race should contribute to 
the common good of humanity, each should 
go forward in its own separate line of de- 
velopment, preserving its distinctive qualities. 
' The strength and wealth of mankind de- 
pend on the balance of separateness and 
communication,' * The qualities of the 
Jewish race are worth preservation, and 
only require scope for free development. 
The world would be poorer without 

But how is one to estimate the trend 
of Jewish feeling on this subject? The 
strength of the Zionist movement shows in 
itself how much Jewish national feeling has 
been lying latent. The growth of Zionism 
is the more remarkable because most of 
the leaders of the community have set their 
faces against the movement.! Many persons, 

* Daniel Deronda, ch. 60. 

t Mr Russell is not justified, however, in representing Zionism 
in England as deriving almost all its strength from the adherence of 
immigrants. The intellectual force of the movement is mainly 
furnished by English-born Jews. 

The Jew in London 233 

also, who hold aloof or have seceded from 
Zionism, only differ on points of detail. 
It is after all a minor question whether 
Palestine should be at once made a ' legally- 
assured home' for the Jewish race or 
simply a centre of Jewish colonisation. 
Political Zionism may be a passing phase ; 
but the ideas on which Zionism is based 
are eternal. The sense of solidarity which 
unites Jew with Jew, which opposes inter- 
marriage, which is presupposed by such 
national festivals as the Passover, will remain 
after all the controversies provoked by Basle 
and London congresses have been forgotten. 
It should be added that the growth of 
Jewish national feeling is not out of harmony 
with the claims of English citizenship. 
It may be a curious question for casuists 
whether a conflict between the two obli- 
gations might arise in any conceivable 
circumstances. For practical men it is 
enough that our adopted country, to which 
we owe so great a debt of gratitude, does 

2 34 The Jew in London 

not require us to be worse Jews in order 
that we may be better Englishmen. We 
will not conceal the fact that our ultimate 
aspirations are fixed on the home of our 
fathers and that we believe that the genius 
of the Jewish race will be best developed 
on Jewish soil. But, for many generations 
to come, migration to Palestine must be 
a slow process, and perhaps the Holy Land 
can never be more than the centre of Jewish 
life. Meanwhile our home is here, and 
we have to show ourselves worthy of the 
hospitality which we enjoy. The distinct 
but not divergent claims of citizenship and 
Jewish nationality may be exceptional, 
but so is the whole history of Israel. 

After all, however, Zionism is only one 
side of Judaism, and although it may prove 
of supreme importance in shaping the history 
of our race, it has not become, as yet, the, 
determining factor in Jewish life and 
thought. Present-day Judaism owes much 
to those who regard their faith as a lofty 

The Jew in London 235 

spiritual influence and not as the rallying- 
ground of a nation. All honour to the 
faithful service rendered to the community 
by many who hold this view ! 

There are indeed many indications of 
strong vitality within our community, 
refuting the charges of materialism and 
spiritual stagnation so often brought against 
us. The success of Jewish social and 
philanthropic institutions is not due only 
to their excellent financial management. 
There is more personal service and more 
social work amongst the poor than there 
was a generation ago. Materialism and 
indifference are common enough, alas ! but 
there are also abundant signs of religious 
zeal displayed by the unorthodox, as by the 
orthodox sections of the community. Even 
the unrest apparent in many quarters 
is a healthier sign than the spiritual 
stagnation of a generation back. In the 
past, when communal life was more compact 
and Jews were solely dependent on each 

236 The Jew in London 

other for social intercourse, a mechanical 
conformity was preserved without there 
necessarily being any sense of conviction. 
That censorship which one Jew exercised 
over another has become impossible, and he 
has now to be guided in his religious 
observance by- conviction rather than by the 
dictation of others. This is a much healthier 
state of things, and although^ it involves 
more heterodoxy, it is calculated to produce 
a worthier religious life. If absorption comes 
it will only be through indifference ; by 
cultivating active and elevating ideals of 
national and religious life we shall avoid all 
risks of mere selfish isolation and make 
our race indeed ' a blessing in the midst 
of the earth.' 



The following facts with regard to three typical 
chedarim may be of interest : — 

id) Cheder attended by thirty-five pupils, taught 
by two teachers. Three pupils come at various 
times before morning school and remain for about 
half an hour to say their prayers. Six come at 
dinner-time, either to say the short afternoon 
service, to read a psalm or two, or, being backward, 
to receive individual attention in reading. None 
remain for more than a few minutes. In the 
evening the pupils are divided into two classes, 
one of which is held from five until a quarter to 
seven, and the other from a quarter past six until 
half-past seven, a few of the older pupils remaining 
until a quarter past eight. The pupils do not attend 
on Friday or Saturday, but come for two hours 
on Sunday afternoon. 

(^) Cheder attended by forty pupils taught by 
one master. About six come for half an hour in the 
morning, and one or two others come for half an 
hour at dinner-time. In the evening the pupils 
are divided into three classes, attending respectively 

238 Appendix B 

from five to six, six to eight, eight to nine. On 
Fridays some boys come for a short time ; none 
attend on Saturday ; they all come for two hours 
on Sunday afternoon. 

(r) Cheder attended by fifty pupils taught by 
a master and his grown-up son. Three children 
attend for half an hour in the morning to say 
their prayers. None attend at dinner-time. In 
the evening they are divided into four classes, 
attending respectively from four-thirty to five, five- 
fifteen to seven, four-forty-five to six, six-thirty to 
eight-thirty. They do not come on Friday or 
Saturday, but receive some instruction on Sunday 

Similar figures hold generally good elsewhere ; 
but in some cases children attend for two hours on 
Saturday, and twice on Sunday — from eleven to 
one, and four to six. The time in the evening 
when instruction closes may be gathered from the 
fact that when meetings of the society of cheder 
teachers are held, members are all present at half- 
past eight. The existence of exceptional cases of 
over-pressure, especially in some of the smaller 
chedarim, cannot be denied ; but even in the worst 
cases that have come under my notice, children 
do not remain at cheder more than three hours 
in an evening.